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Venice Inn's management changes

June 23, 1999|By BRUCE HAMILTON

For the second time in three months, a new company has taken over management of the Venice Inn, a landmark on Hagerstown's Dual Highway.

Prime Hospitality Corp. of Fairfield, N.J., assumed management of the restaurant, hotel and lounge June 16. The new general manager, Douglas Heisler, replaced David Glass, who was interim manager.

"We felt the property had potential. It's in a good market," said Prime Hospitality spokeswoman Mafalda Arena.

Other than Glass, none of the 50 to 60 employees lost their jobs as a result of the management change, according to the company.

Heisler said the restaurant may be renovated in the future.

"We are concentrating right now on the guest service end of the business, and maintaining quality food and beverages," he said.

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Glass had taken over the business operations for a West Chester, Pa., management company, Lodging Unlimited Inc., in March. Illinois businessman Brian Nielson bought the building from the Vidoni family for $8.5 million last year.

The hotel is now owned by Hagerstown Limited Liability Corp., according to Peter Marino, vice president of business development for Prime Hospitality.

A press release from Prime Hospitality states the property owner is Woodmont Builders, a Parsippany, N.J., company.

Marino said Woodmont and a bank are investors in the property.

"We've had a long-term relationship with Woodmont and this is hopefully one of several projects we will work together on," said Arena.

Prime Hospitality owns, manages, develops and franchises more than 200 hotels throughout the United States and Virgin Islands, the release said.

The Venice Inn has been a restaurant and convention center for almost 40 years. It began as the dream of an Italian immigrant, Ettore Avellino Vidoni, who came to the United States in 1923.

He and his wife, Maddalena Vidoni, opened an 80-seat restaurant in a one-story addition built onto the front of their home on Cleveland Avenue in December 1949.

They built an 11-room motel in 1951 and added a separate building in 1959. The family house was removed in 1960 to provide more off-street parking.

A $6 million expansion began in 1983, adding a swimming pool, a new lobby, offices and 220 parking spaces.

The hotel underwent 10 expansions in 35 years and has 222 rooms.

The property features Avellino's Restaurant, Reflections Lounge, the outdoor pool and more than 14,000 square feet of meeting space.

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