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Autoport owners seeking investors, say ‘Hotel Impossible’ episode increases interest in property

The Autoport Motel and Clem’s Roadside Bar and Grill is seeking investors to help save the historic business from foreclosure. Owners say appearing on the TV show “Hotel Impossible” has increased interest.
The Autoport Motel and Clem’s Roadside Bar and Grill is seeking investors to help save the historic business from foreclosure. Owners say appearing on the TV show “Hotel Impossible” has increased interest. CDT photo

The clock is ticking on The Autoport.

Greg and Lynda Mussi bought the motel about seven years ago to keep it from becoming a something other than a motel. They now have to find a way to keep its loan from Enterprise Bank from going into foreclosure by the end of 2014.

The Mussis said the airing of “Hotel Impossible,” which featured The Autoport on on Tuesday, has generated interest from investors wanting to save the motel.

“It’s really generating interest in the salvation of this property, and a lot of people wouldn’t know we were here and the financial state we’re in right now,” Greg Mussi said. “All of a sudden, we’re getting phone calls from all over from people that want to find out what they can do to help.”

Greg Mussi said they’ve been talking with banks and investors for months about how to finance a loan. But he declined to provide specifics about the status of the loan.

“We haven’t been sitting back,” Mussi said. “We’ve talked to people and networked with people well before the show, but it’s just that now a lot more people are calling and trying to arrange a time to sit down with us.”

Foreclosure is a possibility, but the Mussis said they’re thankful for the bank’s patience.

“The bank has been nothing but patient, and there definitely aren’t hard feelings between us and the bank,” Mussi said. “But they do have a board of directors that has seen what’s happening. They see, you know, ‘they’re behind,’ and it’s been a dance with the bank the last two years, and they’ve been getting concerned.”

One option for the Mussis would be another bank assuming the loan’s debt and the family paying it off. Another is forming a partnership with investors.

“We’re open to a lot of scenarios,” Greg Mussi said.

The Mussis also began a Kickstarter campaign for $50,000 at the same time the show aired to raise funds to renovate rooms, not to pay off loans. Greg Mussi said the Travel Channel asked the Mussis not to launch the Kickstarter campaign before “Hotel Impossible” aired, because it would contain information from the show in it.

The Travel Channel did not respond to requests for comment.

“The purpose of the money would be to do room improvements,” Greg Mussi said. “It wouldn’t be used to get caught up on the mortgage. With Kickstarter, it’s very specific what we can do with the money, and it would be for room renovations.”

Greg Mussi said he is confident that the Autoport will stay open.

“It’s a unique property, not another one like it, which is why my wife and I found a way to buy it seven years ago,” Greg Mussi said. “Sure, it has its issues, and it's in need of repairs, but it’s a gold mine sitting here. It’s a piece of history, and we want to preserve that.”

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