A boutique hotel chain is buying the historic Danforth Inn in Portland’s West End for $1.7 million.

Lark Hotels, of Amesbury, Massachusetts, has a sale contract on the nine-room inn and plans to close the sale soon.

The company specializes in buying storied properties and adding chic, modern flair tailored to the luxury market. Most of Lark’s 22 hotels, in New England, New York and California, have fewer than 30 rooms.

“Our sweet spot is in finding architecturally unique properties in sought-after vacation destinations, and especially those with a story to tell,” said Lark CEO Rob Blood. “With so much history and a location in Portland’s thriving West End neighborhood, the Danforth has always appealed to us.”

Lark plans to run the nearly 200-year-old hotel as-is until the end of the year and begin full renovations early in 2020.

For the next month, however, the inn will be closed as the new owners hire and interview new and existing staff and update the property’s systems, Blood said.

Guests who had reservations in January will be able to transfer their reservation or be put up in the Press Hotel on Congress Street, he added.

The Danforth Inn was put on the market last July for $2.6 million after owners Raymond Brunyanszki and Oscar Verest filed for bankruptcy.

The hotel went on the auction block in November with an initial bid of $1.67 million from the mortgage holder, Bar Harbor Bank & Trust.

In a statement, Brunyanszki said the sellers were disappointed with the way operations were being handled by Lark. Danforth employees will have to reapply for their jobs and the company did not tell the sellers why it had to close immediately, Brunyanszki said.

“Our understanding was that the inn was going to remain open and staff and reservations would not be affected,” Brunyanszki said. “We were informed about this decision a few days ago and this is unfortunately beyond our control. We’re very sorry that this is happening this way.”

Most of Lark’s properties are in high-end New England vacation spots such as Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket, Massachusetts; Newport, Rhode Island; and Stowe, Vermont. The company started in 2012 and quickly grew its brand of stylized upscale lodging.

The company has three locations in Maine: the Pomegranate Inn in Portland, Whitehall in Camden and Captain Fairfield Inn in Kennebunkport.

The inn at 163 Danforth St. was built in 1823 as a private home and was sold to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland in 1941. The building was a rectory until 1991 and converted into an inn four years later.

Brunyanszki and Verest bought the hotel in 2014 for $2.4 million.

 

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