The largest lodging property in Three Rivers has new owners — Bruce and Steve Kim. The deal for the 103-room hotel became final on June 20; the purchase price was not disclosed.
The Kim brothers are from a family that previously operated lodging in the Seattle, Wash., hospitality industry. Bruce Kim reported he has worked in the family business for 15 years.
The 30-something brothers’ ownership team landed in Three Rivers during the height of the summer season. July and August are traditionally the two busiest tourist months of the year.
“We are extremely excited to be here in Three Rivers and look forward to making some much-needed upgrades to the property,” Bruce Kim said. “It’s been full occupancy nearly every night, and we haven’t had a day off since we got here.”
Kim said the hotel, with 18 employees, will continue to operate for the time being like it has under the previous owners Kitty and Peter Lee. Among the upgrades the new owners will make is the installation of a new wastewater treatment system.
The need for a system upgrade became even more apparent after the record rainfall this past winter. The problem, according to an adjacent property owner, is that lint from doing laundry at the site has been clogging the filtration of the outdated system now in use.
Both the local Community Services District (CSD) and officials from Tulare County Environmental Health have urged the new owners to upgrade the system.
“The system upgrade is at the top of our agenda, and we hope to complete the work by the end of the year,” Kim said.
The first phase (east building) of the Comfort Inn opened in 1997 as a Holiday Inn Express. A second building was added in 2000, bringing the total number of rooms to its current 103.
The original owner Anil Chagan sold the property to the Lee family in 2006; on January 1, 2007, the property officially became a Comfort Inn and Suites. The new owners said they will continue to operate in Three Rivers as a Comfort Inn.
Update: Proposed hotel
The development of a new hotel in Three Rivers is still in the planning stages, according to a spokesperson for the Patel family who are seeking to build the project.
“We are currently exploring some other options as to location but remain committed to developing a quality project that has the support of the Three Rivers community,” said Gautam Patel.