Lodge bid was impulse, new owner says

Graham Jaehnig/Daily Mining Gazette The bar and table area of the Keweenaw Mountain Lodge displays the historic and rustic charm it has it was built in 1934.

COPPER HARBOR — New owner of the Keweenaw Mountain Lodge, John Lamb of Corpus Christi, Texas, said his coming to Copper Harbor to bid on the facility was a spur-of-the-moment decision he did not plan in advance.

When the cost of the transaction was counted up, he said he was not expecting to pay as much as he did, and the part of the revenue earmarked for improvements were instead consumed in the final purchase price.

While his winning bid was $1.175 million, the final cost of the property will total $1.3 million.

“We want to keep operating as a resort and a golf course, and look at expanding the back half, and then we’d like to keep it open year-round, for the ski hill and the snowmobilers.”

Lamb said he also owns 40 lots on Lake Superior in Ontonagon County, which he is planning on developing.

When he heard about the lodge being auctioned, he said he drove 27 hours non-stop from Corpus Christi to participate in the auction.

“I came up here, not really expecting to win the bid,” he said, “but not expecting to bid anywhere near where I did.”

The Keweenaw Mountain Lodge is comprised of 177 acres, more or less, the lodge itself, with full dining in the 120-person restaurant and bar, eight motel rooms, 24 to 36 rental units and golf course.

A few years ago, a 6,00 square-foot conference center was added onto the back of the lodge, which created the debt service to the county.

The original price was set at $1.5 million by the US Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, to whom the debt was owed.

The county was ordered to place the property on the market. Three buyers came forward but then backed out. The last one was Anthony Lane Partners of Dallas, Texas.

Lamb said he thinks all will turn out well. He loves the northwoods, and the Lake Superior area.

His family has been planning to settle on one of his Ontonagon County lots, but now owning the KML, he and they might settle in Keweenaw County.

He said he is planning to bring his son to work at the lodge and see where they go from there.

One of the things in the planning is expanding the golf course from nine holes to 18.