New London’s landmark Lighthouse Inn — which once played host to legendary film stars but fell into financial trouble in recent years — is up for sale — again.
The city of New London, which took control of the 4-acre property last year for unpaid property taxes, is seeking a buyer who will rehabilitate the inn and resume operations of the inn within two years. The waterfront inn, with views of Fishers Island, closed in 2008.
Bidding for the property starts at $500,000, and one published estimate placed needed repairs at about $1.5 million. Proposals are due May 28.
The property was developed in 1902 as a seaside country home for steel industry magnate Charles S. Guthrie. The Mission-style home was converted to an inn in 1927 with 27 guest rooms.
In addition to the 40,000-square-foot, 2-story inn, there is a 11,000-square-foot carriage house with 24 guest rooms and a 860-square-foot spa building.
The grounds were originally landscaped by Hartford native Frederick Law Olmsted, who designed Central Park in New York City.
[UPDATED on Saturday, Feb. 8 at 6:32 p.m.: An earlier version of this post incorrectly stated that Olmsted designed Bushnell Park. The park was designed by Jacob Weidenmann.]
The city first attempted to sell the property last year but bidders failed to emerge. The city said it is hoping for a better result this time because crucial repairs have been made and questions about unpaid taxes and other legal issues have been resolved.
The former owner of the inn was convicted of defrauding investors of $1.7 million in a sham post-Hurricane Katrina casino development. Prosecutors said Maureen Clark took the money she collected from would-be investors in a Mississippi resort and casino and put it instead toward the Lighthouse Inn.
In the 1940s, the inn was a destination for Hollywood elite such as feuding stars Bette Davis and Joan Crawford, presumably on different weekends.