|By Tim Mekeel, Lancaster New Era, Pa.
Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News
Oct. 1, 2005 - A Florida company with a track record of remodeling its holdings has bought the Lancaster Host Resort & Conference Center for an undisclosed price.
Milestone Hospitality acquired the Lincoln Highway East property Sept. 23, according to a letter from the motel's departing management company.
The 39-year-old motel in East Lampeter Township is a cornerstone of the county's tourism industry. With 330 rooms, it's the county's second-largest motel, trailing only the Willow Valley Resort's 342 rooms, and a popular meeting location, with 80,000 square feet of conference and banquet space. It also has an 18-hole golf course and driving range.
The Host's new general manager, Jonathan Shisler, declined immediate comment on Milestone's plans here.
Milestone chief operating officer Lea Ann Kish could not be reached for comment.
Milestone, of Boca Raton, Fla., owns and operates 15 other motels in six states.
The acquisition deepens Milestone's presence in southcentral and eastern Pennsylvania, where several times it has invested seven-figure sums to upgrade its properties. In this region, its holdings include the Chateau Resort in Tannersville, the Holiday Inn Harrisburg East, the Holiday Inn Harrisburg-Hershey and the Best Western Inn Hershey.
According to its Web site, Milestone has spent $5.5 million to renovate the Chateau Resort, $6 million to remodel the Holiday Inn Harrisburg East and $1.6 million to expand the Holiday Inn Harrisburg-Hershey, all in the past three years.
The Host had been owned by Lennar Partners of Miami Beach, Fla., since last year, according to county records.
Lennar Partners had acquired the 173.1-acre property in lieu of a mortgage foreclosure against the prior owner. At that time, the Host had a fair market value of $20.1 million, county records say.
Lennar Partners, which also had owned downtown Lancaster's Brunswick Inn from 2002 until early this year, hired Janus Hotels & Resorts to run the Host. Janus Hotels, also of Boca Raton, Fla., operates more than 60 properties in 25 states.
Janus Hotels announced the sale and its departure from the Host last week.
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