The Ocracoke Preservation Society assumed ownership of the historic Island Inn property in early May. After several months of study and negotiations, OPS was able to purchase the deteriorating structure and its surrounding lots.
Over one year ago local businessman John Giagu conceived a complex plan for a village entity to acquire and preserve the property on the corner of Route 12 and Lighthouse Road. He consulted with local realtors and recruited Hyde County Commissioner Tom Pahl, Hyde County Manager Bill Rich, and part-time resident Ed Norvell (a Salisbury attorney specializing in non-profit arts and preservation) to develop a workable plan to save the property from commercial development. These men, working together, formed the “Island Inn Preservation Committee”.
The Island Inn Preservation Committee presented their plan to the Executive Committee of OPS in December and OPS began considering the opportunities and responsibilities in the plan.
At its March meeting the OPS Executive Committee agreed to purchase the Inn.
The Island Inn property includes the buildings and land on the east side of Lighthouse Road and the land across Lighthouse Road including the pool, the condo septic system, and parking area for the Island Inn Condos (but not including the condo building). At closing the pool, the condo septic system and parking areas were sold to the Condo Owners’ Association and the northern lot (between the pool and the brush line) was sold to Hyde County. The county will build a new EMS station on their lot.
The down payment for the purchase was funded by the sale of these two parcels. The remainder of the purchase is owner financed by the seller, Lighthouse Road Investors Group, LLC, with a balloon payment in 5 years.
Half of the monthly mortgage payments will be covered by a grant from the Occupancy Tax Board and half from the Tourism Development Authority tax board.
Much of the old hotel and restaurant areas of the Island Inn have fallen into disrepair and are beyond saving. These sections will be demolished.
The center section of the building is the old Odd Fellows Lodge, originally built in 1901. It will be restored to its historic condition and used as a visitors’ center and upstairs office space. The grounds around the restored lodge will be green space with some off road parking along Odd Fellow’s Lane.
OPS also plans to construct public restrooms on the lot, providing a sorely needed service for visitors to the island.
“We are glad to become stewards of this historic property,” said Ken DeBarth, OPS President. “We have a lot of work to do. We need to find funds to do all the things we plan. We are looking for grants and other sources. This is a several year project, and we are excited to take it on.”