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Ligonier council OK's hotel plan

| Friday, March 15, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

Ligonier residents Adam and Michelle Gardner say they hope to have Thistledown at Seger House — a hotel housed in the former McGinnis Hospital — open by July.

Ligonier Borough Council on Thursday approved the couple's plans for the eight-room hotel at 221 W. Main St.

Hotels must be approved on an individual basis, according to the borough's zoning ordinance.

The eight rooms — each with a private bathroom — will occupy the historic mansion's second and third floors. The first floor will house Michelle Gardner's yarn shop Bo-Peep Fine Yarns, which will relocate from the Ligonier Diamond, and a small cafe and lounge area.

“We're looking to restore the original beauty and look of the building,” said architect Loren Wright of Pittsburgh-based Piper O'Brien Herr Architects.

Wright said work on the building will include “primary interior renovations with minor exterior modifications.”

Under the name Scout LLC, the Gardners bought the property from Excela Health for $265,000 in January, according to county real estate records. It has been vacant and for sale since Excela Health closed the SurgiCenter of Ligonier in June 2011.

“I'd like to see this thing fly. It's a nice addition to our town,” Councilman Jim McDonnell said.

The $50,000 original construction of the Victorian-style mansion finished in 1918. It was owned by the Seger family until 1944 when the Allegheny County Sisters of Mercy purchased the building for $34,500 to start a hospital.

The building includes three kitchens and an indoor swimming pool in the basement that has been boarded over for years.

Jewels Phraner reports for Trib Total Media.

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