Route 66 in the News
Boots Motel Changing Ownership
CARTHAGE, Mo. - A buyer has emerged for the historic Boots Motel.
Ron Hart, director of the Route 66 Chamber of Commerce, announced on his Facebook page and his website, http://bootsmotel.homestead.com/, that a Route 66 “roadie” or fan of the Mother Road, has made an offer to the Hometown Bank to buy the former motel and has signed a contract with the bank.
“Completion of the deal still depends on financing arrangements which are underway,” Hart said. “If successful, the buyer plans to restore the Boots and re-open at least part of it initially as a motel. Additional details of the purchase will be released in the near future.”
Hart would not release the name of the buyer pending the completion of financing and the purchase of the motel, but he said the buyer was a member of the Society for Commercial Archeology, a national group that placed the Boots on its annual list of “10 Most Endangered Roadside Places.”
“This person is an expert in historic preservation and has a masters degree in historic preservation,” Hart said. “They know what they are doing when it comes to restoration.”
Hart said he did not know the purchase price, but it was more than the $150,000 the bank was reportedly asking for the property.
Hometown Bank foreclosed on the Boots Motel last month for $101,000.
Before that the property had been owned by Vince Scott, Carthage, who said he bought the property more than five years ago to sell to a nationwide pharmacy chain that would have torn the building down and built a store on the corner of Garrison and Central avenues.
For the past five years, the former motel has been operated as low-income housing, but it is still a magnet for Route 66 travelers driving through Carthage.
The motel is listed on guidebooks in the U.S., Europe and Asia as a must-see attraction on the Mother Road.
Before it sold at auction, Carthage Historic Preservation, a local group focused on preserving Carthage’s historic architecture, had formed a committee to look at buying and preserving the Boots.
The committee had made an offer to Scott to purchase the motel before it went to auction, and more recently had made a written offer to Hometown Bank for the property.
The committee issued a statement on Friday about the proposed purchase.
“Despite our disappointment for the project, we hope the new owners are preservation minded,” said Carolyn Phelps, president of Carthage Historic Preservation.
Scott put the motel up for sale a few months before the bank foreclosed on it. Before the auction, he said the motel was “in rough shape.”
Hart said the prospective buyer has inspected the property and they think they understand what it will take to restore it.
He said the buyer’s hope is to restore part of the motel and have some rooms available for rent by the beginning of the travel season in 2012.
He also said the buyer was impressed with Carthage’s history and beauty and wants to work with local residents to promote the community.
“I hope no one in Carthage is offended that we moved on this, but these folks stepped up and had the money ready to move on it,” Hart said.
John Hacker, Carthage Press