Unique art will draw people to the water in St. Clair.
The newly refurbished crown jewel of St. Clair, the St. Clair Inn, will soon be open to the community after a multi-million dollar restoration.
As this historic inn readies for opening, changes are happening around the city.Opened at first in 1926 and shuttered in 2014, the “new” hotel will both preserve the past and also celebrate the future of the city.
While a date for the official opening has not quite been set, excitement is in the air around St. Clair as owners and developers put the final touches into place.
“I can share that our original plan to open the Inn in phases remains,” says owner Jeff Katofsky. “The historic portion of the Inn will be completed first with the remaining portions of the property opening shortly after that, starting with the restaurants. Soon the Inn will be in a position to host overnight guests and diners looking for a relaxing time on the grounds of this iconic property.”
“This is a really huge project, and there is a lot of energy in the city,” says St. Clair Mayor Bill Cedar Jr.
He says development of the inn has spurred other businesses to open New restaurants and stores are opening in Riverview Plaza.in the area. “A lot of great businesses are opening in the mall (Riverview Plaza). There is a lot happening, it is looking just wonderful. With the natural beauty, the freighters, and boating…it’s just fantastic.”
Some of the new businesses include Mannina's Wine House, Anchor Pointe Bistro and Tru Blue Boutique.
“The revitalization of the inn is a catalytic project for the city of St. Clair and the county,” says Economic Development Alliance of St. Clair County CEO Dan Casey. “The inn will draw clientele from the broader region, and while they’re in town we expect that they will spend money at area businesses. We have already seen a shift in the downtown as retailers prepare for the change we expect to see. More restaurants and boutique stores are opening.”
Katofsky says his deep appreciation for historic properties led to his desire to refurbish the hotel.
“The St. Clair Inn represented an opportunity for me to further my passion for preserving unique architecture and history that is culturally and socially significant,” he says.
There are many new places to eat, shop and play in St. Clair.He says that the goal of the developers is to “restore the original portion of the Inn to its 1926 grandeur, yet offer all the modern amenities and safety features one should expect as a guest.”
The design and restoration team poured over tons of photos, and examined past renovations and additions to find the original design of the property.
“We made every effort to reuse somewhere in the facility any original fixture, door or piece of hardware in the restoration,” says Katofsky. “We have even sought out century-old beams, brick and lumber to match as closely as possible damaged or unsalvageable woodwork (support structures, doors, counters, beams, trim and more).”
Highlights include an outdoor pool and pool house, three stand-alone guest cottages, extensive gardens, an amphitheater, fire pit, and more. The shoreline will be open for guests to enjoy the river and its views.
“I have lived on this river my whole life,” says Cedar, Jr. “But when you get in there and see the views up and down the river, it Shoppers can checking out Blackbird Homegoods.is just spectacular.”
There will also be unique food and beverage offerings, including 1926, The Sapphire Room, The Dive sports bar, a Starbucks, and the Prohibition bar, a “1920’s era speakeasy that is accessed with a secret code!”
The historical charm was not the only aspect of the hotel space that drew Katofsky in; but rather, the stories of the people who have been there.
“No matter where I go in this country—and I travel a lot—I encounter someone who has a story about the inn,” says Katofsky. “Whether it be working at the inn, a holiday dinner, wedding, anniversary celebration, and so many other special events, people loved sharing beautiful memories they had at the inn.”
The St. Clair Inn is expected to draw visitors from across the country.Katofsky and his team want those stories to continue and look forward to being a catalyst for that. “The Inn has been a part of many families personal history, and we respect those ties. We want those stories to continue. As has been true for almost a century, ‘Every Stay has a Story.’”
Former guests and visitors to the St. Clair Inn have been encouraged to share their story on the website, https://stclairinn.com/.
“I am really looking forward to having the Inn up and running,” says Katofsky. “I believe the community and the region will experience something that isn’t available anywhere else in the mid-west. While the restoration of the St. Clair Inn has been long-awaited by the community, I know there will be interest far and wide and the city will experience a renewal beyond the grounds of the inn.”
For more information, follow the St. Clair Inn Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/stclairinn/.