Mill Town Capital buys Gateways Inn; will revamp restaurant

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LENOX — Gateways Inn, a luxury bed-and-breakfast recently put up for auction, has been sold to a private Pittsfield-based investment firm, which intends to continue to run the inn and restaurant at 51 Walker St.

Mill Town Capital, which owns numerous properties in downtown Pittsfield and recently purchased the Bousquet Ski Area, formed Gateways Inn Properties LLC to purchase the inn and a three-bedroom residential property behind it from Eiran and Michele Gazit.

The purchase price was $1 million, according to the Berkshire Middle Registry of Deeds. The seller and buyer declined comment on whether there was any additional payment for the value of the business or the inn's inventory.

"In acquiring The Gateways Inn, we look forward to continuing the tradition of excellence the Inn has established over its 83-year history," said Mill Town CEO and Managing Director Tim Burke in a prepared statement.

Mill Town plans to open a revamped on-site restaurant, The Walker Street Grill, later this month. Burke described it as a casual eatery with a lighter fare lunch and a dinner menu of salads, appetizers, seafood and sandwiches on the inn's lawn, the patio and in the enclosed-porch dining room.

The restaurant will feature a steakhouse style a la carte menu and a wide selection of cocktails, beers and wines.

"We hope that The Walker Street Grill will become a reliable option when looking for great food and service," Burke said. "As we work to enhance cultural and outdoor offerings around the Berkshires, we look forward to having both The Gateways Inn and The Walker Street Grill become an integral part of our mission to make the area a more vital destination for residents and visitors alike."

The inn has 11 suites, a full-service restaurant and it has operated a night spot featuring local musicians. Mill Town was the high bidder when the ConciergeAuctions.com event concluded on June 4, nine days after it began.

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Gateways had been advertised for an asking price of $3.5 million when it was put on the market in January 2019 and was re-listed for $3.2 million this past March before it was reduced to $2,250,000 just ahead of the auction.

Eiran Gazit declined to discuss the financial details of the sale.

"From my perspective, the Gateways chapter is over, and I am now free to pursue my other projects," he said in an e-mail message to The Eagle. "It was a great ride, during which we made many friends and provided much joy to our numerous guests, but we are relieved to leave it behind us. I wish the new owners much success."

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The mansion was built in 1912 for $108,000 — that's about $1.5 million in today's money — as a summer cottage named Orleton for Harley Procter of Procter & Gamble and Ivory Soap fame. It has been an inn since 1937 and its roster of celebrity guests and visitors has included John Williams, Norman Rockwell, Paul Newman, actress Olympia Dukakis and Arthur Fiedler.

The Gazits purchased the inn and adjacent house in January 2012 for $2,250,000, including all inventory, and spent an additional $250,000 on renovations.

Burke, a Pittsfield native, joined privately-funded Mill Town Capital when it was founded by David Mixer, a Dalton native, in 2016. Mixer, a 1960 graduate of Wahconah Regional High School, has been an international venture capital entrepreneur for more than 30 years, focused on telecom, wireless and internet investments.

Mill Town's wide-ranging investments include at least 22 residential and commercial properties along Tyler Street in Pittsfield, as well as three buildings in the North Street 400 block, including The Lantern restaurant reopened in 2018 by Bjorn Somlo, owner of the Nudel restaurant in Lenox. The firm also purchased the Linden Street property formerly housing the Hot Dog Ranch, which was torn down.

Last October, it became a partner to support businesses and entrepreneurs at Pittsfield's recently opened $13.8 million Berkshire Innovation Center at the William Stanley Business Park, adjacent to the former GE industrial complex. Mill Town moved its operations there in January while maintaining a presence at Framework, a business it launched and owns on North Street.

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Mill Town also has funded outdoor recreation projects for the Berkshire Natural Resources Council and helped rehabilitate trails in Springside Park in a partnership with Greenagers. It also supported free outdoor recreation programming for Pittsfield's 10x10 Upstreet Arts Festival and funded "Tanglewood in the City" concert screenings downtown.

The firm also co-owns Green Apple Specialty Linens, a commercial laundry on West Housatonic Street servicing the hospitality industry.

Mill Town Capital acquired Bousquet on May 29 for $1.07 million, according to the Registry documents, two years after it was listed for $3.2 million. It also has a collaboration agreement with Jon and Jim Schaefer, owners of two other area ski areas — Berkshire East in Charlemont and Catamount in Egremont.

Mill Town also refashioned a private home into a public space in downtown Dalton branded as Mill+Main.

Burke thanked the Gazits for support during the transition prior to the inn's reopening for lodging on Wednesday.

"We aspire to meet their track record of quality and excellence in crafting our own vision for the future of the Gateways," he stated. "They have set a high bar and we are excited for what the future holds for this property."

Clarence Fanto can be reached at cfanto@yahoo.com, on Twitter @BE_cfanto or at 413-637-2551.


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