Upstate Motels Make a Comeback, With an Aim to Captivate
From the New York Times: Dana Bowen and her husband, Lindsay Bowen, both 49, initially had been looking to buy a roomy outpost away from New York City that could double as a vacation rental. The couple have a Brooklyn apartment, and a small house in the quaint village of Athens, in Greene County, and habitually scouted Catskill and Hudson Valley property listings looking for “the one” — something big enough to host family and friends, and rent out the rest of the time.
But they didn’t want to be innkeepers. Bed-and-breakfasts felt too stodgy, and nothing quite fit what they envisioned: a place with a vibe or infrastructure that felt special, with ample private guest rooms and bathrooms, and enough space for sizable groups to gather.
Like the rest of the world, social distancing wasn’t on their radar until the arrival of Covid-19 when, suddenly, pandemic-induced guidelines for human interaction became sobering edicts of a new reality. For the Bowens, these protocols got them ruminating about buying an upstate motel instead. They weren’t alone.
How a canceled Hawaii trip led me to the Flamingo, a retrofabulous Northern Calif. resort
From SFgate.com: Most hotels are simply a place to sleep while away from home. Some are more glamorous than others, of course, but when I’m on the road — whether for work or on vacation — the last thing I’m doing is dawdling in a rented room. So when I noticed that the Flamingo in Santa Rosa, of all places, started appearing again and again in the brag posts of social media friends and acquaintances, I was curious. How does a sexagenarian Northern California motor lodge — a dubiously self-proclaimed “Mid-century Modern Marvel,” first opened in 1957 — on the residential outskirts of Sonoma County’s small but sprawling capital become one of the most locally coveted vacation destinations of 2021?
Billionaire N.Y. ‘Bottom Feeder’ Buys Malls as Others Run Away
From Bloomberg: Igal Namdar has made a fortune buying shopping malls no one else wants.
He scoops up struggling centers at bargain-basement prices after their landlords lose faith, betting he can turn a profit before the last tenants turn out the lights. So far, that strategy has netted big gains — as well as lawsuits accusing Namdar of allowing his real estate to slide into disrepair.
In building an empire of 268 properties in 35 U.S. states — most prominently aging malls in small cities — Namdar has accumulated a personal net worth of about $2 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
Take a tour of Florida’s vintage neon signs
From Fox13 Tampa Bay: Todd Bates documents the evolving history of American roadways. 10 years ago, the St. Petersburg graphic designer started the Vintage Neon Project. He photographs old signs that represent a bygone era of Florida tourism.
Chick-fil-A Plans to Keep Tee Jaye’s Sign
From Columbus Underground: An iconic piece of the North High Street landscape in Clintonville is sticking around as a long-standing local restaurant says goodbye and Chick-fil-A swoops in.
When Tee Jaye’s announced in February it would be closing its Clintonville restaurant at 4910 N. High St., the discussion quickly turned to what would happen to the large neon sign as rumblings of the chain’s interest began.
The sign, which was initially constructed in 1961, landed on Columbus Landmark’s list of most endangered buildings…er, sites, for 2021 due to a change in businesses and the sign not meeting current zoning code.
Route 66 neon sign park proposed at Oklahoma History Center in OKC
From Route 66 News: The Oklahoma Route 66 Centennial Commission, led by state tourism chief and Lt. Gov. Matt Pinnell, is considering building a Route 66 neon park at the Oklahoma History Center in Oklahoma City.
Those details emerged in a Facebook post by the Oklahoma-based Billboard Museum, which hopes to eventually build its own facility in the OKC metro area.