The last time we mentioned the 33-room Ronjo Hotel, Curbed readers let fly with their usual brand of insight/venom:
"The comments on TripAdvisor about catching scabies from the dirty beds is classic. That place was a dump 20 years ago. I can't imagine it's any better."
"Eh......wee bit close to the sea for that Price tag!"
"Ramshackle, seedy.....a real dive. I say it's worth $2 Mil tops."
"Buy it for the property. Raze everything but the kitschy statues. Rebuild. Profit."
Despite our readership's better judgement, the building has moved into contract. While the exact number has yet to be released, we've been assured the final sale price should be in the neighborhood of the original $5M ask. Chris Jones?of Sole East, Sole Beach and the MTK Festival?along with his partner Larry Siedlick are the men behind the forthcoming purchase. During a phone call yesterday, Mr. Jones, perhaps expecting a backlash from the Montauk Citizens Advisory Committee, stressed that there will be a "completely different ownership structure" and this will not be a part of the Sole properties.
According to the agent brokering the deal (a newcomer to the commercial property game, Rick Solano), the Ronjo's current owner, "will be retiring and is happy to be passing the torch to Mr. Jones and his proven track record of upgrading hotels with world class style that is fitting the culture of Montauk."
And just what's in store for the the property?
First up is a much-needed name change?The Ronjo doesn't exactly have the best online reputation. When the hotel opens in this spring, it will be called "Montauk Beach House". And, as you might expect, they're putting a little money into the property and it will see a desperately needed complete renovation. For the last three months they've been working with Two Hat Design Build figuring out the project and they've come up with something "really, really neat." Speaking with Chris, it seems like his goal (other than making money, obviously) is to make sure that "one of the best pieces of hotel real estate in Montauk" becomes home to "something the community will be happy with and proud to talk about."
As for the instantly recognizable tiki, Mr. Jones wouldn't spill the beans other than to let us know they've got a surprise planned that should make a lot of people happy.
We'll be watching this project closely and providing updates as they occur. In the meantime, feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.
· Listing: Montauk Ronjo Motel [Atlantic Beach Realty]