Westport selectmen approves new tenant for Inn at Longshore

The Inn at Longshore.

The Inn at Longshore.

Contributed photo / Contributed photo

WESTPORT — The Inn at Longshore has new tenants.

On Friday, the Board of Selectmen unanimously approved First Selectman Jim Marpe to sign off on a lease with an amendment for new tenant Longshore Hospitality LLC, a partnership led by the Greenwich Hospitality Group.

“Since I was elected to the selectman office now almost seven years ago, one of the prime areas of focus has been how we can make the best use possible of this wonderful asset know as the Inn at Longshore,” Marpe said.

Long-time tenant Longshore Associates of Westport, headed by Rory Tagert, looked to assign the lease to a new group after facing the financial impactsof the COVID-19 pandemic.

Town attorney Ira Boom said the Inn at Longshore was effectively closed by March due to state and local orders and the town hadn’t received rent since.

Tagert then filed a lawsuit against the town in May.

“They were seeking an abatement in the rent because of COVID and they were also seeking a deduction in the rent,” Bloom said, adding no action has ever been taken in regards to the lawsuit.

He said the lawsuit is also expected to be withdrawn as part of the resolution.

Bloom said an interim amendment will allow the new tenant to pay a percentage of gross revenues from now until Dec. 31, 2021 to mitigate the impacts of COVID. The back rent will be waived as part of this new agreement, he said.

“After 2021 the original lease terms go back into effect and will continue for the balance of the lease, which at that point will be about seven years,” Bloom said.

The base rent is about $934,000 and then a formula will be used to determine the rent going forward, according to the contract.

The finance board voted 6-0 with one abstention to approve the lease with its amendment on Thursday.

“We’ve greatly enjoyed our 35 years here in Westport running the inn,” Tagert said in a statement. “As we’re now ready to retire, we’re passing on the guardianship of this beloved property to Longshore Associates LLC. We have full confidence that the inn is in good hands with a company that has the expertise and resources to further our legacy.”

Michael Ryan, a Westport resident and principal of Longshore Hospitality LLC, said his group looks to be a good neighbor and a good partner. Longshore Hospitality through its partnership with Greenwich Hospitality Group also operates several boutique hotels across the country, including the Delamar hotels in Greenwich and Southport.

“I’m excited to see what we could do to create new bonds with the different constituencies within Longshore,” Ryan said.

He said there is very little currently scheduled for the inn, but they are working to provide as many activities as they can safely and legally do. They are also planning to keep the current staff for now, he said.

There are also plans for renovations.

“We want to redo the Inn as it is. We’re not looking to go outside of the footprint,” Ryan said, adding new designs would be reviewed over the next few months.

Marpe said months of discussions have led to this point although it may appear a decision was rushed to the public.

But Bloom said as both a town resident and someone who has worked on the lease for decades he was comfortable with the approval of the lease.

“I think this is truly in the best interest of the town,” he said.