By Derrick Knutson—
Drive by the Budget Host Inn and Suites off Main Street in North Branch and one thing is apparent: nobody’s home.
No lights are illuminating the lobby or any of its many rooms. Phone calls to the business go unanswered, and recent snowfalls have accumulated in the motel’s parking lot without being removed.
The motel, like numerous businesses and homes across the state and nation, has gone into foreclosure.
Kathy Lindo, executive director of the North Branch Area Chamber of Commerce, said the Budget Host owner and employees vacated the premises about two weeks ago, but she’s unsure if any furniture or other items were moved out.
“I’m totally unaware of how the building was left,” she said.
Sue Gusse, deputy auditor for Chisago County, said the motel officially began foreclosure proceedings Sept. 22, 2011.
Attempts by the Post Review to contact the former owner of the motel, Himanshu Patel, about the foreclosure were unsuccessful.
Gusse said Patel has until May 22 to repurchase the property. After that six-month timeframe has passed, the business could be sold to the highest bidder.
The records the county has on file for the business state it’s worth $680,415.
The motel is currently under the purview of Zion First National Bank of Utah.
City Planner/Development Director Alan Cottingham said some businesses have moved out of the city due to financial reasons over the past couple of years, but the Budget Host Inn and Suites is the largest business he could recall facing foreclosure.
“It’s a huge business,” he said. “It’s the biggest individual business (in town) I can remember going through foreclosure.”
Lindo said North Branch has a strong business climate in a time of economic turmoil, but there are businesses in the city that don’t make it for a variety of reasons.
“It’s sad when anyone invests in a business like that and it doesn’t go the way they planned,” she said.