The Pierpont Inn was purchased for $6.5 million by Irvine-based Brighton Management, a hotel and commercial real estate development and management firm, at auction this morning, Friday, Sept. 14, at the federal courthouse in Los Angeles. 

"We are very excited about the purchase today," said Mike Schaefer, Brighton Management senior vice president of hotel operations. "We have looked at the Pierpont as one of the landmark hotels of Ventura and Ventura County. We have been very interested in acquiring the property for several years."

Schaefer said the vision for the future of the Pierpont Inn lies in its history.

"We are going to take part of this hotel and reconstruct it to the old days of hotels, furnishing the hotel with older, turn-of-the-20th century-style furniture. We want to bring back that kind of ambiance of the Pierpont and make it a social gathering place for residents of Ventura."

Schaefer said that improvements should begin in the near future but he also stated that the city of Ventura will be included in the process.

"We really want to work with the city of Ventura and make the right selection for branding in the future." 

Brighton Management currently manages Four Points by Sheraton and Holiday Inn Express in Ventura, the former Country Inn and Suites in Port Hueneme, which will be converted in a total property renovation to a Holiday Inn Express in November. The group will also assume management of the Residence Inn in Oxnard this month. 

"We love what’s going on in Ventura County," Schaefer said. "We have owned the Four Points for seven years. We have just always enjoyed being in Ventura. Love Ventura County and wanted to be a big part of it for a long time.We are really excited about everything that has happened this summer.

The group also manages various branded-products including Marriott, Holiday Inn and Hilton, throughout Southern California.

For more information on Brighton Management, go to brightonmgt.com/index.htm


ORIGINAL STORY: Pierpont Inn up for auction this Friday

It’s been eight months since the Pierpont Inn was listed for sale at $8.5 million, $6 million owed to Community West Bank, $2 million owed to Garrett Family Trust, and several hundred thousand dollars owed to creditors. With no serious buyers while the Inn was on the market, the property will instead be auctioned off to the highest bidder on Friday, Sept. 14, at 10 a.m. at the Los Angeles Federal Courthouse.

Gordon Allred, broker with Marcus and Millichap Real Estate Investment Services based in Ontario, Calif., confirmed that five bidders will be at the auction, meeting the minimum requirement of placing $100,000 in escrow in order to bid. Deadline for the escrow desposit was Sept. 10. He said that the bidders are based locally and/or regionally.

“All of them want to keep it as a hotel. It will definitely stay as a hotel,” Allred said. “Whoever wins will put some money into the property and make it a vital property.”

Local architect Ed Campbell, the Pierpont Inn’s executive director via Pierpont USA LLC, has been managing the property since October 2011. Under Campbell’s direction, occupancy has increased, weddings have been reserved into November 2013, and new events have been created to attract patrons for food and overnight stays, including Thursday BBQ at Pierpont with live music and New Year’s Eve casino night.

“For nine months, [the Pierpont Inn] has been successfully run by Pierpont USA LLC,” Campbell said. “We have spent $250,000 in improvements, maintained the grounds and improved the landscaping in the process.”
Campbell took on a major project by agreeing to manage the property, which has a number of financial problems. The property exchanged hands several times over the last 10 years, each owner with a different vision on how to run the inn. The owner of the inn leading up to the time of auction, Grace Ahn of the Ahn Family Trust, who purchased it in 2009, and those she left in charge were unable to keep the property viable.  The property is now in default, and Community West Bank and the Garrett Family Trust are moving forward with the auction, which has been delayed twice this year.

Campbell said he was uncertain whether the new owner(s) would keep him and his team on to manage the property. The property up for auction includes two parcels, from the west wing to the auditorium on the south side. The Pierpont Inn in its entirety is made up of three parcels, which also includes the site of the spa. The Garrett Family Trust recently took back the site of the spa via a deed in lieu of foreclosure agreement.

Regardless of the outcome of auction, Campbell said he wanted to reassure the brides and grooms.

“The Pierpont Inn has been 102 years. The hotel will be here; we (Pierpont USA LLC) may not, but your wedding will be,” he said.