CROOKSTON – Management at the Crookston Inn and Convention Center have announced the hotel will close Dec. 29.
The hotel, at 2200 University Ave. in Crookston, is owned by Todd and Nicole Jacobson, who bought it in 2013. It was previously called the Northland Inn. The hotel was featured on a season 4 episode of the Travel Channel’s TV show "Hotel Impossible" in 2014.
On Dec. 16, Laurie Stahlecker, the hotel's general manager, told the Herald by phone the decision to close the hotel was made by the owners late Friday, Dec. 13. She said she didn’t know the reason for the hotel’s closing.
“I am not sure,” Stahlecker said. “I just know the owners wanted to be done.”
She stressed that the hotel will remain open through Dec. 28.
The hotel has a number of financial obligations Jacobson has been attempting to pay back.
The Crookston Housing and Economic Development Authority extended a $75,000 loan to the Crookston Inn, according to Executive Director Craig Hoiseth, adding that hotel ownership has been “very aggressive” at repaying the loan up to this calendar year.
“It looks like it’s a $39,000 outstanding debt at this point,” Hoiseth said.
The Jacobsons also have taken out loans through the city of Crookston, through an Intermediary Revolving Program – federal money the city has received – for 2013 renovations to the property. Additional loans were taken out to pay property taxes after the value of the property was reassessed in 2015, according to city Finance Director Angel Weasner.
“They were paying steadily until the year of 2018,” she said. “And then mid-2019 the payments slowed down.”
One payment was returned in 2019 for non-sufficient funds, according to Weasner, who said the Jacobsons owe the city nearly $140,000. It was just recently she learned of the hotel’s closing.
The next step is for the city and CHEDA to attempt to recover their investments.
“We want to make sure that we secure the investment the best that we can,” Hoiseth said.
Weasner said that she has contacted the city attorney, but the next step has not been determined.
Stahalecker said the community has been supportive of her and the hotel staff since the announcement.
“That's one nice thing about our community is they really rally around people at times like these,” she said. “But, at this point, I guess I'm just more worried about 40-plus employees walking out with no job as of the 29th, especially right after Christmas.”
She said she had once considered buying the hotel but changed her mind.
“There was talk about that,” she said. “I have decided not to go that route.”
Stahalecker said the closure will leave a hole in the community.
“It's going to really hurt our community,” she said. “We are trying to build this community up. This is a huge place for events, weddings, those types of things.”
The Herald made several attempts to contact Todd Jacobson, but he could not be reached for comment.