KINGFIELD – The historic Herbert Grand Hotel is under new ownership once again with the recent purchase by Sugarloaf Mountain. The 105-year-old building which looms over Main Street will start a new chapter of its life next winter as housing for up to 40 seasonal Sugarloaf staff members. The 26-room building will be closed this summer for renovations.
“Housing for seasonal staff has become a critical need for our community, and this investment is an important step in meeting that need. We’re continuing to work with our community partners on additional solutions to meet the long-term housing needs of the community,” Karl Strand, general manager, said.
While the plan for the hotel has not been finalized, according to Marketing Manager Ethan Austin, there is hope that the purchase and reopening of the hotel will be a good thing for the town of Kingfield.
“We’re still working on the exact long-term operation for the hotel,” Austin said. “I think it can certainly be beneficial to Kingfield to have those rooms occupied long-term as opposed to being empty for a large part of the season. They certainly were not operating at full occupancy in recent years, so having a full hotel there with people who are going to patronize the local businesses in to…from an economic standpoint there’s certainly potential significant benefits there.”
The hotel first opened in 1918 and has changed ownership twice in the past two years. The most recent of the former owners could not be reached for comment.
Kingfield selectboard chair Morgan Dunham expressed that the selectboard as a whole has some questions regarding the renovation process of the hotel as a historical landmark, but they do not see the transition of ownership as a bad thing.
“I think it’s genius because there’s such a need for affordable housing…everyone is in favor of it, but there are some concerns. The Herbert is such a fixture in Kingfield—it’s a beautiful building—and whenever it changes hands there’s always a concern of if that person or that group is going to keep it looking nice,” Dunham said. “I’m thinking we can trust sugarloaf to handle that.”