What's Next For The Port LaBelle Inn?
PORT LABELLE, FL. -- Hendry County official records indicate the Port LaBelle Inn has been sold to SMH Properties of Southwest Florida, Inc., a non-profit headed by officials of Saint Matthew House of Collier County, best known for running alcohol and drug residential programs and homeless shelters and kitchens.
SMH's board of directors include Rick Fumo, Mark Jackson, Ron Gustason, and Joe Trachtenberg, all of Naples, Fl.
Edward J. Yasechko, a wealthy Ohio truck stop owner agreed to sell the Port LaBelle in to the group for $1,050,000. The sale closed on April 30. Yasechko paid $900,000 almost six years ago for the nearly 35-year old building, and then invested considerable amounts of money to rehabilitate the aging property with it's tennis/basketball court, pool and also purchased an adjoining plot of pasture land with a large storage building.
The Hendry property appraiser has a tax value of $652,000 for the hotel and about $18,000 for the pastures.
The hotel includes a restaurant and bar and about four dozen rooms. The new owners have told employees that the bar will be closed in the next several months. Trachtenberg had previously announced that there were lots of repairs needed at the facility and they would be undertaking projects to bring the building up to par.
State inspectors say the hotel elevator has no current license to operate and the restaurant has several food safety violations outstanding.
The Saint Matthews House group tried unsuccessfully last year to get a county zoning special exception to use the hotel for a drug/alcohol rehab facility. But, as the property is zoned for recreational use, the county commission and zoning officials declined to go along with the request.