Truckee Hotel sells for nearly $2.4 million |

Truckee Hotel sells for nearly $2.4 million

Photo by Ryan Salm/Sierra SunAvery Cruz, 5, and Deborah Waller of Guerneville, Calif., relax in the lobby of the Truckee Hotel.

The historic Truckee Hotel, the lodging landmark that has been sold and resold nearly a dozen times over the past 133 years, has once again changed hands.

On Jan. 24 Jeff and Karen Winter, who have owned the hotel since 1991, sold the property to Truckee Hotel Partners LLC, a small group of investors from across the state that includes part-time resident Leo Burke, owner of the Hampton Inn and Suites in Truckee, for nearly $2.4 million.

“The vision is to clean it up but not take away its charm,” said co-owner Dennis Vaccaro, a real estate investor with Faris Lee Investments in Irvine, Calif.

Updates such as fresh paint, new furniture and new light fixtures are on the to-do list, Vaccaro said.

But some hotel employees aren’t so sure that the change is necessarily for the better. On March 1, Chase International, the real estate agency currently occupying a small office on the hotel’s ground floor, will expand into the whole of the hotel’s parlor.

“The idea is to expand out Truckee office,” said Chase sales manager Jean Ludwick. “We’re not going to make a lot of changes (to the room), but will make it feel more like contemporary Victorian.”

Coffee, tea and meals will be served upstairs in the Whitney room, a space smaller than the previous and located away from the kitchen, which is connected to the parlor.

“[The Whitney] room is not accommodating compared to the parlor,” said concierge Patricia Stanley. “Karen Winter went through great pains to make sure that the community had a place like this to enjoy drinks and cookies. It’s on the historic tour. If you take away that parlor …”

Other large changes aren’t so definite. Anyone who owns a building in the downtown district must have even the smallest changes to the building’s exterior approved by the Historic Preservation Advisory Commission, said Chelsea Walterscheid, museum curator for the Truckee-Donner Historical Society. Changes to the interior, on the other hand, can be made at the discretion of the owner, but according to Vaccaro, all of the existing walls are load-bearing, and the entire structure would collapse if any were removed.

“We’ve talked about a million things,” Vaccaro said. “I think the key behind the choice (to purchase) is that we think the property has a lot of potential, especially in light of the (future) redevelopment of the railyard, which will create an opportunity for the hotel to be in the center of town.”

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