New Lease For Longshore Inn?

The Inn at Longshore — a gorgeous, historic (and tired and underutilized) property — may soon get a new “lease on life.”

The Boards of Finance and Selectmen will consider an intriguing proposal foro the town-owned property.

Long-time tenant Longshore Associates of Westport — headed by Rory Tagert — seeks permission to assign their lease to a new group of experienced hotel and restaurant operators.

Tagert has been involved with the Inn for 35 years. He will retire soon.

The Inn at Longshore

Known officially as Longshore Hospitality LLC, the partnership is led by the Greenwich Hospitality Group. 

Founded by Charles Mallory of Greenwich, they operate boutique hotels in many states, including the Delamar hotels in Greenwich, Southport and West Hartford, along with the L’Escale and Artisan restaurants in those locations.

Principal Michael Ryan is a Westport resident. Longshore Hospitality was represented by Westport attorney Jim Randel during negotiations.

The current Inn at Longshore lease has 8 years to run. It allows the tenant to assign the lease, with town approval. Those approvals are on the agendas of special online meetings of the Board of Finance (Thursday, October 22, 5 p.m.) and Selectmen (Friday, October 23, 12:30 p.m.).

The ballroom at the Inn.

1st Selectman Jim Marpe says:

I feel comfortable and gratified that the Inn at Longshore will be in the hands of experienced, local and reputable businesspeople who will represent the Town well in the years ahead.

The Longshore Hospitality LLC proposes to continue operating the Inn and the banquet facility as they have been under the proprietorship of Longshore Associates. Hotel and event staff are proposed to remain in place and all scheduled events will be unaffected. The Pearl at Longshore restaurant will continue to stay open.

Christmastime at the Inn at Longshore.(Photo/Katherine Bruan)

14 responses to “New Lease For Longshore Inn?

  1. Does this mean Pearl would change management? That would be a shame.

  2. Here comes the neighborhood! Genteel and reasonably priced, even in the summer. Stay there once, preferably in one of the suites before the price of admission reaches for that beautiful moon over the harbor.

  3. Michelle Mechanic

    I’m excited to see the space revitalized – especially the inn. However, I hope the Inn at Longshore remains affordable enough for our local non-profits and community organizations to hold fundraisers and other events.

  4. It’s great that such a seemingly seasoned, successful operator is interested however hopefully the BOF will make sure this is a deal the Town should support financially. Is the current Lease at market value? While they are assuming 8 remaining years (potentially at lower than market rent), is the deal contingent on an extension of the Lease and, if so, is the extension at market value? A lower than market rent is valuable and the seller of the Lease gets the benefit of that value, not the Town. Is there anything within the current Lease that is unfavorable to the Town? If the Town has unfettered approval rights over the assignment that also means the Town can correct any deficiencies, i.e. renovations, responsibilities, deferred maintenance, etc., before approving the assignment. Let’s hope the BOF is vetting this deal appropriately, regardless of which partner(s) may be Westport residents. If so, then it will be great to have new life instilled in this gem Town asset once Covid-19 is no longer a barrier to enjoying it!

  5. Terence brannigqan

    This has long been a suboptomized town asset.

    I wish there was a broader list of potential candidates to assume the lease and operations. Not that the Greenwich Hospitality Group is not potentially great, but soliciting a wide set of ideas would yeild more ideas and the best fit. Seems like this was a narrow search done by the current holder. Imagine the excitement that would result if were public knowlege that it was up for grabs.

    PS: I’ve done lots of private (work) events there. It is a remarkable spot but it seems like the opperators (and frankly the town) always seem to view it as a warm weather only opportunity. When I’ve tried to host events in the cold weather, it feels as the place isn’t even open. In the words of my sister Kathleen Fazio imagine it as a cozy winter place as well as a patio bar

    • At least they’re choosing a local operator experienced in the hotel and banquet business. Feel thankful they didn’t get a dodgy NY outfit like the one at Compo — selling $2.95 sodas out of a 50 year old carnival trailer.

      • So nice to have Peter Blau and Phillip Perri to express intelligent thoughts
        I too wonder what the assignment of this lease states . Is it public ? May we the town suggest another hotel restaurant group to our current tenant? ? Do we benefit if we control the least transfer. Are our town attorneys reviewing this lease with what benefits go to our current lease holder/tenant?
        I think we need more information and maybe these meetings coming up will explain.

  6. Good opportunity to see if the town can run themselves like some neighboring towns do with their mansions? Make it more open a public? More reasonable prices?

  7. When the extra long lease was extended to Mr. Tagert many years ago, the rationale behind it was because of his previous experience running the Inn so well. Without his involvement, that rationale no longer applies.

    The Longshore Golf Course needs a new clubhouse. The Inn is its historic home, and much of its exquisite footprint is wasted on a dumpster and grill storage. Any decisions regarding the future of the Inn should include a new golf clubhouse – especially if the town is considering assigning the remaining 8 years of the lease to a premiere boutique hotel operator.

  8. I look forward to the presentation to the BoF and the analysis and positions of our BoF. Our BoF is excellent and almost always do a good job. If more than one meeting is needed, that should occur. My only critical comment of the BoF is that, on occasion, they limit their analysis only to items that they believe to be in their purview. There are occasions when the BoF needs to take an all encompassing approach, in part because the members of the BoF are so very capable.
    Don Bergmann

  9. Out of curiosity, is the current lease holder allowed to profit by assigning the lease? I.e. current lease holder takes a huge one time payment and the new assigned lease holder gets an awesome deal for 8 years?

    • Just to clarify, when a lease rent is under market the person holding the lease has what’s known as “leasehold value” that is a recognizable asset. It is not unusual that a tenant would take advantage of that. The lease controls what, if anything, they can do to unlock that value. In the case of an unfettered right of assignment they can sell the lease to a buyer and take the profit. Most leases have some qualification to the assignment for the landlord, such as an approval right of the potential buyer, as it seems the Longshore lease has. The responsibility falls on the landlord to negotiate a lease in such a way to protect against a tenant taking unfair advantage in this way. Of course a landlord is negotiating at the inception of the lease with limited knowledge of where a rental market may be in the future. There are some typical, general preventative clauses that can foreclose a possible mistake however. For example, a landlord may refuse to give a sublet or assignment right at all, or give the right but state that any profit belongs to the landlord, etc. In the case of Longshore, if the lease was a sweetheart deal because of the relationship with the operator, but then a full right of assignment was given, that’s Westport’s bad. As I said, there appears to be an opportunity to right any wrong under the lease NOW, as a contingency to approving the assignment to Greenwich Hospitality. All this said, the original Lease and the proposed Assignment may be perfectly fine with nothing untoward about it. I assume innocence and just point out what the BOF is probably already considering. They are certainly much smarter than I regarding fiscal responsibility.

  10. The fact it is one of the settings for Scott Fitzgerald’s Great Gatsby, and on the grounds where the Fitzgerald’s honeymooned, partied and swam only begins to suggest what could be done to bring it to another level.

  11. Is Greenwich Hospitality Group a private equity organization?

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