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The Historic Pierpont Inn in Venura, California
 On the Market for $16.5 million
By Stephanie Hoops, Ventura County Star, Calif.McClatchy-Tribune Regional News

Sep. 27, 2008 --The owners of the Pierpont Inn are again trying to sell the historic hotel in Ventura, with an asking price of $16.5 million, according to a new real estate listing.

The owners, eight members of the Panchal and Patel families, purchased it in 2005 from Spencer and Scott Garrett. They paid about $10.4 million, based on the transfer tax paid and recorded with Ventura County.

Looking to sell earlier this year, the owners allowed a group of investors to take over the property before the deal was finalized, but the sale fell through.

A source involved with the failed sale said the deal collapsed partly because one of the investors had invested heavily in the investment bank Bear Stearns, which failed about a week before escrow was to close in March.

Westlake Village lawyer Daniel Spielfogel was among the investors.

"There is no question that the contraction of the capital markets played a significant role in the buyers' inability to close their purchase of the Pierpont Inn," he said.

Afterward, Pravin Patel made no secret that he and the other owners would continue looking for a buyer. "We are just continuing what we were doing before," he said Thursday.

Patel declined to provide more details about the pending sale. The property was listed Tuesday by Malibu lodging broker Eric Gignoux. The ad notes that the inn's net operating income is about $1.5 million.

Gignoux said he's already seeing a tremendous amount of interest.

"You have a total of 6.2 acres that overlook the ocean and you have the historical building," he said.

"It's just a great, great property. It's kind of an icon for Ventura."

The 77-room hotel at 550 Sanjon Road was built in 1910. Notable guests have included famous Hollywood players and politicians, including Cecil B. DeMille and George H.W. Bush before he was president.

The new owner should have experience with a boutique type of property, Gignoux said, adding that it would be beneficial if the purchaser were local to the area of Santa Barbara or Ventura.

Pierpont Inn General Manager Pablo Sanchez confirmed Friday that the hotel is for sale and said the owners are looking for purchasers who will "continue the future success of the Pierpont."

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