Wykeham Inn will become a reality in Washington
Years of legal battles and a litany of land-use meetings seem finally behind Matthew and Erika Klauer concerning their plan to create the Wykeham Inn in Washington.
In January 2013, the last legal battle came to a close when the Washington Zoning Commission approved the construction of a 24,000-square-foot, 54-guestroom inn and accompanying buildings on the Klauer's 27-acre property at 101 Wykeham Road.
Then, on Sunday, Aug. 17, Erika Klauer held a private presentation at her Washington home of plans for the inn.
The Klauers' new partner in the project, Avi Brosh of the Paligroup in California, was on hand.
Founded by Brosh in 1998, the Paligroup designs, develops and operates high-end residential properties and hotels in Los Angeles, West Hollywood and Santa Monica.
"We are very excited to be part of this project," said Kirsten Leigh Pratt, principal partner in the Paligroup hotel division. "I can definitely confirm that the Paligroup will be partnering with the Klauers."
Pratt added it is "too early" in the project to share facts and figures. However, rooms and suites in the Palihouse Santa Monica hotel range from $350 to $1,500 a night, according to the group's website.
Washington Realtor Joe Mustich attended Klauer's presentation Sunday.
"The Wykeham Inn will attract a hipper, younger clientele than other inns now in Washington," Mustich said. "It will allow children and pets, offer rooms with kitchenettes, and have a pool and spa among other amenities. Ground breaking is targeted for spring 2015."
Mustich said he has been among the "silent majority" in Washington who wanted to see the Klauers succeed in developing the site.
Abandoned buildings from its days decades ago as the Wykeham Rise School for Girls remain on the property.
The school opened in 1907 and closed its doors in 1988.
The site soon became home for a decade for a Swiss Hospitality Institute training school.
The property has been vacant for 14 years.
In the summer of 1989, The Rolling Stones and their 25-member entourage rented the property for more than six weeks from the recently closed school's board of trustees.
The rock band held rehearsals for the start of a world tour. Media helicopters flew overhead and tour buses crawled past the property, alarming neighbors.
That memory might explain why neighbors on adjacent Bell Hill Road and other parcels surrounding the Wykeham Road property fought the Klauer's development of the site -- often appealing land-use approvals in court.
"Everyone heard the outspoken minority who fought to stop the inn from being built," Mustich said. "We want the property developed. We want the jobs it will bring. We want the revenue coming in to our town.
"It's a green industry," he added. "It will bring people here from around the world."
Randi Solomon, who brought civil suits with her husband, Mitchell, explained their position in 2013.
"Our concern is this might not be done right," Solomon said. "We want this to be a good addition to our neighborhood."
The Klauers first took their proposal to build an inn to Washington land-use boards in 2008. Following a denial by the Zoning Commission, the Klauers in 2010 proposed building a private university at the site.
When approval was given for Wykeham University in spring 2012, neighbors to the property filed appeals.
After lengthy legal battles and another zoning application, the Klauers received Zoning Commission approval in January 2013 to develop the property as an inn, with accompanying buildings.
Erika Klauer could not be reached for comment.