When Corrie Sid purchased the Guest House from the City of Tallassee last September, she had a vision for the historic property. Nine months later that vision is clear and beginning to take form.
While there is a lot of work ahead of Sid, her goal is to invest in the city and grow the community where she is from by opening a seven-room retreat-style hotel.
“We were hoping for eight rooms but it looks like it will be seven rooms and one of those rooms will be a big, giant suit,” she said. “We are adding balconies and patios to all the rooms except for one. One room will be adjoining, where one bedroom is a king bed and the other has two beds so a whole family can stay there.”
To make the long list of needed renovations, Sid turned to the well-known Montgomery firm of Steenhaus, headed by Heather and Scott Steen, both of whom are Auburn graduates.
“They went to New York for a few years and did some really creative things up there and now they are back in Montgomery,” Sid said. “They have been a great match for me in terms of aesthetics and the way they view the project.”
Sid said contractor Fleming Pruett of Montgomery is familiar with the renovation style she has in mind for the Guest House.
Sid also wants to resurrect the famous Sunday buffet from the Hotel Talisi at the Guest House.
“We are feeling very confident that we will be able to install a commercial kitchen and eventually bring back the Sunday buffet,” she said. “I think they would like to add brunch to that menu and have waffles and breakfast as well other items that used to be there.”
Sid is no stranger to the hospitality industry. She has lived in California and after 20 years working in the tech world decided to change directions, buying a boutique hotel there.
“It was a 10-room beachside,” she said. “It was already running. It had been running forever. I took it over and I fell in love with that. It was about 50 miles from home and it was difficult to manage. Ultimately we had to sell it but I really want to do that again.”
Sid said she is taking all precautions to ensure proper work is done at the facility.
“We just did a walkthrough with (city building inspector) Andy Coker to make sure we are doing everything the right way,” she said. “Everything from the sprinkler system, ADA compliance, everything you can think of to make sure we have thought about it.”
To help design and lay out the commercial kitchen, Sid turned to the chef at a popular Montgomery restaurant to help.
“The chef from The Vintage Year is helping us design the kitchen and he will work with me to help me understand the restaurant business because I don’t at all,” she said with a smile.
Sid said she is anxious to get back to her Tallassee roots.
“It’s been amazing and exciting and I am itching to get here and work,” she said. “Work, work, work.”
Sid said family members in Tallassee are willing to help Sid with the massive undertaking.
“It great to have so many relatives here and I know so many people here,” she said. “It’s just terrific. I am fortunate and very blessed to have their support.”
Sid purchased the Guest House in a closed bid process last September for $229,000. The property appraised for $340,000 and was sold as is.
“It’s all relative, right,” she said. “I am certainly going to put in more than that.”
Sid hopes the Guest House will offer a venue for special events, such as weddings, and hopes it will bring events to residents.
“I would like to provide events,” she said. “I think there is something in that that brings a community together and gives people something to do that they wouldn’t normally do and creates a different place to commune.”
Sid has visions of Christmas and New Year’s Eve events, fireworks on the lake during the 4th of July, Easter brunches with egg hunts on the lawn, outdoor concerts and other festive functions, including Halloween.
“I love Halloween,” she said. “We could have a haunted woods concept with everything decked out. I know everyone likes the trunk or treat activity but maybe there is another alternative to that as well.”
While the Guest House is a financial investment for Sid, she hopes the entire area will profit.
“I am hoping that at the end of the day it isn’t only a business (but) that it will be a community resource and a community builder,” she said.
The Guest House has a deep history in Tallassee. Built in 1941, Tallassee Mill carpenters constructed the property on a secluded point for hosting guests from the company’s Baltimore Mills.