BOONE, N.C. -- The Best Western hotel in Boone, where three guests died this spring from carbon monoxide, is for sale, along with four other hotels run by the same management, according to a hotel brokerage firm’s website.
Hotel Assets Group LLC listed the hotels for sale about six weeks ago, said Michael Bernath, a partner at the brokerage firm. He declined to comment further on the hotels in Boone, a mountain town about 100 miles northwest of Charlotte.
Officials have concluded a pool heater at the Best Western Plus Blue Ridge Plaza likely released the carbon monoxide that caused the deaths of a Washington state couple, Daryl and Shirley Jenkins, in April, and 11-year-old Jeffrey Williams of Rock Hill in June. Williams’ mother, Jeannie, was hospitalized and is struggling to recover.
According to Bernath’s timeline, the hotels, with a total of 401 rooms, would have been listed for sale in early June or late May, after the Jenkinses’ death, but before Williams’ died in the same hotel room. The web site provides basic information about the hotels, but requires a confidentiality agreement for further details.
The other hotels listed for sale are the Country Inn & Suites, the La Quinta Inns & Suites, the Sleep Inn and the Super 8 in Boone. The hotels are largely owned by companies once led by the late Ashok Patel, except for the Super 8, which is owned by his ex-wife, Jill Atfield Patel, according to property and N.C. Secretary of State records. But the hotels are managed by another company called Appalachian Hospitality Management, according to Boone officials and court records.
An attorney for Appalachian Hospitality Management president Damon Mallatere did not immediately return a call seeking comment. It’s unclear whether Ashok Patel’s death in January has affected the ownership structure of the hotels.
The Best Western has been closed since Williams’ death in June. An employee who answered the phone on Tuesday said there is a possibility the hotel could open this week.
“It’s still up in the air,” said the worker, who would not give her name. She said the hotel is taking reservations for “future dates,” including some in August.
The building is safe, she said, adding: “They are doing the repairs.”
Bill Bailey, Boone’s planning and inspections director, said it was a “good possibility” the hotel could open this week. The inspections department and the Boone fire department checked the hotel on Monday and found only minor issues that need to be fixed, Bailey said.
The certificate of occupancy will be for all of the hotel except for Room 225, where the deaths occurred, and the pool, he said. Room 225 will not open again, and the number plate has been removed, an employee told Bailey’s inspector.
Boone police Capt. Andy LeBeau on Tuesday said his department is looking to finish its investigation of the deaths this week but still has interviews to conduct and reports to receive from other agencies. The department would then deliver its investigation to Watauga County District Attorney Jerry Wilson, who will determine whether to file criminal charges.