PHOTOS: St. Clair eagerly awaits restoration of historic St. Clair Inn

Heading to the city of St. Clair, you will notice a distinct air of excitement among local residents. While the well-known St. Clair Inn has sat empty in recent years, the dust has been flying since September 2017 as the Westhaven Builders LLC crew busily work away.


Purchased in 2016 by California real-estate developer Jeff Katofsky, the St. Clair Inn is slated to be a premier getaway not just for the city of St. Clair, but for the entire county and beyond.


For the next year eager visitors can envision the future of the inn while watching it take shape.


A luxury destination in progress


Breathtaking views await visitors when the inn reopens next year.
With a $35 million to $38 million investment, the overall goal is to transform the structure into a luxurious getaway that would be a popular tourist destination and attraction for the Blue Water area. In fact, developers plan for the finished product to be a full-service resort, unlike anything the region has seen, where visitors can be pampered to their heart's content.


Investors are working with stellar designers to achieve that goal. The building will feature 106 guest rooms, including some
individual cottages that are are being built. Designers also intend to include an event space, multiple bars, several restaurants, a spa, and a state of the art gym, among other features. They also want to maximize the view and boardwalk, and plan to add a deck to the top floor bar.


"You'd have a special place to have your event or spend your weekend, or just come to dinner," says Katofsky. "We're really looking to do something people are proud of."


Katofsky wants to create the perfect place for the weekend getaway or nearby day trip alike. As work continues, they are constantly tweaking the vision, with the goal of constant improvement.

Pieces of the old St. Clair Inn await clean up at the construction site.

Falling in love with St. Clair


Beautiful stained class adorns the walls of the St. Clair Inn
While Katofsky initially had the option to purchase the empty property sign unseen, he decided to make the cross-country trek from California to St. Clair in order to check out the asset in person. It was also a prime opportunity to survey the local area.


"I had never set foot in St. Clair before," explains Katofsky, "But honestly I drove up and was in love before I turned the car Details on the mantel add a unique touch to the It's absolutely beautiful. If you've ever set foot in St. Clair and walk over by the Inn, then you get it. "


He recognized the opportunity to acquire a prime piece of real estate, and saw something particularly special in the inn and its location. And while he was naturally drawn to the area, he also fell in love with the residents, as well. Residents have been very welcoming and downright excited about the prospect of a new and improved St. Clair Inn.


"St. Clair is also about the people, not just the view," says Katofsky.


A tourist destination for the county and beyond


Katofsky readily acknowledges that the area really took a two-fold hit from the St. Clair Inn's previous closing. Some estimates reported a roughly 25 percent drop in gross spending within the city, and about a 10 percent drop within the entire county. Not only were tourists lost, but also a great location for personal and corporate events, such as meetings and weddings.


The new owner's hope in rebuilding is to have the inn be a destination location for the county and even region beyond.


"When new tourists come into town, hopefully they fall in love like I did."


Plans for the futureThe exterior view from a planned outdoor bar will be perfect.


Plans include a soft opening in March 2019, with a hard open to follow shortly thereafter.


The inn is expected to bring about 250 jobs to the area


Personally, Katofsky looks forward to relaxing on the deck of the planned third-floor bar and appreciating the one-of-a-kind view.


"Opening night you'll find me up there," says Katofsky with a hearty laugh.

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