Change of pace for local motel |

Change of pace for local motel

Before the gold miners, before Grass Valley, and well before the construction of the Sierra Motel, a majestic redwood tree towered above what is now West Main Street.

The tree stood above the Sierra Motel when it was a Model T stopover in the 1930s. It looked down on the motel when it became a raggedy flophouse in the 1980s and 1990s.

And it’s still there now, days before the motel reopens as a classy, completely refurbished inn.

That same redwood, imposing and elegant, was partially responsible for the motel’s resurrection, Philip Green said.

Two years ago, Green and his wife, Ginni, were hunting for a multi-unit building to add to their stock of properties. Scouring the classifieds, they stumbled across a listing for the Sierra Motel.

They called and came to check it out.

“Our first impression was, ‘Oh my goodness, what a dump,'” Ginni said.

The one-story motel had been ravaged by termites and housed several of the down-and-outs of Grass Valley.

“If you blew on the walls, they would fall down,” Phil Green said.

But, it had a beautiful redwood in front. The surrounding homes are well-maintained and attractive and Grass Valley has a shortage of nice motels, Phil Green said.

So they bought it.

For the first year, they operated the motel as it was, weeding out unruly tenants and trying to find homes for the good ones, Ginni Green said.

Originally, they intended to do only an adequate job of restoration. But putting only half your heart into something is tricky, the Greens learned. So, with the motel vacated, they embarked on a thorough renovation.

To save costs, the Greens tried to do much of the work themselves.

Phil Green restored many of the walls and fixtures; the couple’s twin 18-year-olds, Timothy and Anthony, welded coat hangers for each of the 13 rooms; and Ginni Green and motel manager Kathleen Austin decorated the interiors.

Now, more than a year and hundreds of thousands of dollars later, the 13 rooms are each different. No longer rundown, they have gleaming bathrooms and kitchenettes, new appliances, and bright red and green furnishings.

Roses bloom on the grounds, and the lawn is plush and green.

“It turned out better than we could have ever imagined, (into) something we’re proud of,” Ginni Green said.

To kick off the Oct. 1 grand opening, the Greens will host an open house from 2 p.m. until 6:30 p.m. Sunday at 816 W. Main St. Wine and hors d’oeuvres will be served.

For more information, call 273-8133.


WHAT: Sierra Motel open house. Tour of the newly renovated motel features wine and hors d’oeuvres.

WHEN: Sunday. Tours begin 2 p.m. Wine tasting from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.

WHERE: 816 W. Main St. Grass Valley.


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