LENOX — Another historic inn has changed hands, reflecting an upsurge of interest among potential purchasers buying into the bed-and-breakfast segment of the hospitality industry.
The 28-room, three-building Cornell Inn, a short distance from the downtown business center, has been sold by Tim and Nell McCaffery, owners since 2012, to Kurt Inderbitzen, who formed Cornell Inn Holdings LLC for the transaction.
First listed last February by The B&B Team, Inn Consultants LLC, a hospitality consultancy and brokerage firm based in Kennebunk, Maine, and other locations, the asking price was just under $2.6 million. The three buildings on the site date to the 18th and 19th centuries.
The transaction for the 3.9-acre real estate at 203 Main St. was recorded as $1,932,103 at the Berkshire Middle Registry of Deeds on Friday. The buyer also took out two separate mortgages with Cambridge Trust Co. totaling $2,261,000, according to the registry documents.
The additional price paid by Inderbitzen for the value of the business, furniture, furnishings and equipment was not disclosed, by mutual agreement between the McCafferys and Inderbitzen, said Rick Wolf, co-owner of The B&B Team.
“It was a very complex transaction,” said Wolf, “with a lot of moving parts, but very normal in terms of what we see today.” He noted that the U.S. Small Business Administration was involved in the deal.
Inderbitzen declined to comment on his plans for the property, but stated that he would go public with the details in two to four months. The inn has been closed since November, except for one pre-Christmas weekend.
Wolf pointed out that the typical time on the market for a multimillion-dollar lodging property is two to three years. He cited a “very active” period for the hospitality industry from July through December, after a freeze-up during the first months of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The desire to get into the hospitality space is still very high,” he said in a phone interview.
The Cornell Inn has had a 12 percent capitalization rate, reflecting the percentage of cash flow/net operating income in relation to the asking price.
“A 12 percent cap rate is very favorable, and one that indicates good value to a buyer,” Wolf said.
The decision to put the inn on the market preceded the pandemic, Tim McCaffery noted.
“We were ready for a change,” he said. “We’re out of the hospitality business for now.”
The McCafferys bought the inn for $800,000 in mid-2012, after an unsuccessful auction by the previous owner. According to current Town Hall records, the property’s value is assessed at $1,409,000.
The Cornell Inn, at the northern gateway to downtown Lenox, has been rated recently as the No. 1 inn and B&B out of 19 Lenox properties by Tripadvisor, which collects reviews from guests. In 1986, the Cornell was first operated as an inn, with major renovations completed in 2006.
The Main House, a Victorian cottage-style building, dates from the late 1880s and originally was home to the Cornell family. It includes a breakfast dining room and kitchen, a private pub for guests, and 10 rooms on the first and second floor, with owner’s quarters on the third floor.
The adjacent MacDonald House, built around 1777 as a private residence in the classic Colonial style, has 10 guest rooms, five side porches and a common living area.
The Carriage House, dating from around 1880, includes eight additional guest rooms.
Eighteen of the inn’s rooms have wood-burning fireplaces with period-piece decorations and antiques. Additional amenities include decks, gardens, a fishpond, a small waterfall and nearby access to Kennedy Park.
The B&B Team’s listing described the property as “primed for new owners to take it to the next level of luxury, growth and profitability.”
The consultants worked with Piretti Real Estate, the local broker of record, to complete the transaction.
The B&B Team lists The Inn at Stockbridge for sale at $2,650,000. The firm previously has sold the Birchwood Inn and the Gateways Inn, both in Lenox, as well as the Federal House in South Lee, the Devonfield Inn in Lee and the Shaker Mill Inn in West Stockbridge.
Other Lenox properties listed as on the market by various online sources include the Kemble Inn for $4.6 million; the Apple Tree Inn opposite Tanglewood, with an asking price of $3.5 million; the Days Inn motel on Pittsfield Road, for $2.3 million, and Brook Farm Inn for $1,450,000.