LENOX – Blantyre, the stunning 120-year-old cottage that has become one of the county’s most luxurious celebrity-inhabited resorts, has been transformed for the second time in four years.
The purchase price for multiple parcels on Blantyre and Patterson Roads has reached $15 million, according to documents filed last week at the Berkshire Bond Company’s Middle Registry in Pittsfield.
The deal includes the transfer of a special permit for a major $90 million expansion of the 110-acre resort as approved at the Lenox division’s board meeting in July 2020, followed by a written resolution submitted to the registry in October.
Blantyre will be closed until September 2022, General Manager Stephen Benson said. Guests seeking to make reservations for next summer have been told that multi-million dollar renovations planned under the new property were the reason for the prolonged closure.
The new company is registered with the state as Blantyre LLC, and its owners are Clark Lyda, a real estate investor and developer specializing in the historic preservation of Gilded Age properties based in Georgetown, Texas, near Austin, and Ken Falk, an interior designer in San Francisco whose company is listed in New York City.
Lida and Falk could not be reached for comment.
The property sale and construction price is among the highest for a resort in the county.
Primarily, by far, is Hyatt Hotels Corp.’s investment. of $132 million to convert the former Cranwell Hotel and Golf Course into the Miraval Berkshires Resort & Spa and its brother, Windshurst Manor & Club. Hyatt spent $22 million to acquire the property in January 2017 and completed the project in June 2020.
Over the years, David Bobo has become an informal historian of Blantyre, which has a story that spans the entire 20th century.
During a zoning board hearing last year, Lennox-born David Bobo, COO and longtime employee of Blantyre, listed such famous Blantyre visitors and guests as Martha Graham, Yo-Yo Ma, Bobby MacFerrin, Leonard Bernstein, John Williams and Daniel Craig. Josh Groban, Paul Newman and Joan Collins.
Williams composed pieces for “Schindler’s List,” as well as music for the “Star Wars” and “Harry Potter” films during his roughly summer residencies scheduled around his appearances at Tanglewood with the Boston Symphony Orchestra and the Boston Pops.
“They each appreciated the unique history and warmth of this very special home away from home,” Bobo said of the celebrity guests. “Homes of this type and properties of this size require golden age wealth to maintain, a staff of over 100 dedicated, trained and talented employees, constant maintenance and extraordinary efforts for year-round occupancy.”
In a Preservation Magazine profile, Lyda described himself as a lifelong history lover. He emphasized finding new uses for old buildings, and creating economic momentum for their preservation.
“When I started investing in real estate, I gravitated towards exotic properties that people didn’t know what to do with, rather than traditional properties,” he told the magazine published by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. “You have to preserve their core but give them an economic purpose – a sustainable reason to exist – so they can continue to progress. Old buildings tell a story about the people who built them and the time they were built.”
According to Lyda, “Most tend to have a higher level of craftsmanship we have now. Better materials, and more respect for resources. I’ve had varying degrees of success with them, but I find them more compelling.”
He was particularly proud of the renovation of the 1860s Stagecoach Inn in Salado, Texas, and another hotel, the Commodore Perry Estate in Austin.
He told the magazine he was “a huge fan of Golden Age homes, so I’m drawn to places like Newport, Rhode Island, or Long Island, New York.” Berkshire was not mentioned in the Fall 2020 interview.
Falk, the interior designer, told the Financial Times in a profile last month, “The indulgence I would never give up is luxury hotels. I’m a hotel junkie and support the theory that the best room really matters.”
He recently remodeled Boston’s historic Quin House, which is now a members-only social club in the city’s popular Back Bay neighborhood. The building, built in 1886, was the ancient home of the Algonquin Club, “where generations of Boston Brahmins networked, compiled, and compared portfolios,” according to Boston Magazine.
Linda Lu, the real estate investor who acquired Blantyre from Fitzpatrick Family Holdings in June 2017 for $4.6 million, is said to remain involved as a stakeholder. She could not be reached for comment.
The value of the business, furnishings, and equipment brought the total cost of its acquisition in 2017 to nearly $7 million.
Jack and Jane Fitzpatrick, both departed from Berkshire, purchased the Blantyre in 1980, after it had been abandoned and had fallen into disrepair. The Fitzpatrick family gave the property to their daughter, Joanne Fitzpatrick Brown, to run it.
The mansion, completed in 1902, and the surrounding space were sold to the law’s company, Blantyre Hotel Ventures LLC, following the death of Fitzpatrick Brown in January 2016.
After a multi-million dollar “cosmetic makeover,” the law revealed an ambitious $90 million expansion of the resort in February 2020. The plan included building a new hotel with an additional 45 rooms added to 24 existing suites, as well as building 20 apartment homes. to be known as The Mews at Blantyre, and the creation of 14 plots of land to build estates.
During extensive and well-attended public hearings before the Lenox District Appeals Board, Law emphasized that the historic resort’s survival depended on a proposed expansion that would require at least 18 months to complete.
On July 22, 2020, the ZBA unanimously approved the project, with terms that included limiting the number of guests at outdoor events to 175, keeping the restaurant open to the general public, cutting music and amplifying outdoor fireworks by 11 p.m., the same terms in effect through special permit previous property. Any outdoor event designed for more than 175 guests will require special approval from the Town Hall.
But with the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, no building permits have been withdrawn for the expansion, according to Town Hall Land Use Department records.
This year, celebrity New York chef Daniel Boulud ran a fine dining restaurant, Café Boulud, in the hotel. The restaurant was recently closed prior to the property deal.
“Now Hear This,” an independently produced public television series as part of PBS’ Great Performances, purchased the property for several weeks in January to film an episode called “Beethoven’s Ghost.” The show was broadcast nationwide on November 12.
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