Sagebrush Inn legacy changes hands

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After four years of ownership, James Haimsohn and Jared Steinberg have sold the Sagebrush Inn and Suites to Colorado-based JP Taos LLC.

New owners Perry Sanders and John Goede took control as of Friday (Dec. 15). They said they will continue to improve and renovate the historic property for guests. Plans include renovating existing buildings as well as making updates to the rooms. Staff and day-to-day operations will continue as usual. Guests won’t experience changes checking in and out during the transition’s first few weeks, according to hotel management.

“We want to make the property more modern and elegant but keep the ambiance and the classic Southwest style,” said executive chef Tim Wooldridge. “I’m real excited to be part of the revitalization of this iconic property.”

Wooldridge has been at the Sagebrush for two years and had briefly worked as the interim general manager. Together with general manager Alanna Marohn, Wooldridge will supervise daily operations. Wooldridge is also in charge of food and beverage services.

Wooldridge says changes are already taking place with the order of 288 new beds. Future repairs and maintenance will include paint, new carpet and furniture for the entire hotel. Newest additions to the hotel will include soundproofing some areas, updating the kitchen and planning a year-round outdoor swimming pool.

Haimsohn and Steinberg purchased the hotel in 2013 after searching for some commercial property in New Mexico. With a background in the hotel business, Haimsohn said the Sagebrush was a great experience. He said he worked to bring out its full potential.

“It’s has been wonderful,” said Haimsohn. “It truly is just an iconic asset with so much history and so much potential within Taos.”

“They don’t make properties like the Sagebrush anymore,” he said.

The two decided to sell the hotel for a number of reasons. Most notably, they saw the restoration needs of the property and felt that Goede and Sanders were best equipped to carry out upgrades, according to Haimsohn. Of his four years owning the property, Haimsohn said he will miss his staff most, but looks forward to visiting Taos.

Sanders is looking forward to the new additions. He plans to have the hotel jump into the arts and music scene in Taos.

“It was always one of my favorite spaces,” Sanders said. “We’re going to make it super comfortable and give it a minor facelift. We’re going to try and convert it back to be a local focus.”

Sanders’ relationship with the Sagebrush started when his band played a gig there some time ago. He said he was talking to Goede when they decided to call and see if the building was still available. The two currently own and manage other hotel properties in Colorado and have experience in restoring historic properties as hotels.

The Sagebrush was built in 1929 by Helen and Frank Kentor who owned it through its early years of operation. Since then, the hotel has only changed hands a few times and has become a favorite for travelers over the years. Celebrities, artists and politicians have graced its over the years, and the new owners are hoping to continue the legacy for future generations.

“I think (the sale) is the best thing for the property, and I think it’s best for Taos as a whole,” Haimsohn said.

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