TRAVERSE CITY -- Traverse Bay Lodge along Munson Avenue is under new ownership and will reopen this spring as a Comfort Inn.

TC Suites 61 LLC, principally owned by local hotelier Alex Mowczan, bought the property from Jeff and Chris Weaner for $2.25 million and launched a $750,000 renovation project on the 62-room facility. Renovations will include new wall vinyl, carpeting, counter tops, furniture, flat-screen, high-definition televisions and bedding in every room. Rooms will also feature free high-speed wireless Internet service.

The hotel, located at 730 Munson Ave. next to Mabel's restaurant, also will be fully smoke-free.

The hotel is scheduled to reopen on May 16 as a Comfort Inn, the flagship brand of the Choice Hotels International lodging chain; its other brands include Quality Inn, Sleep Inn and Clarion hotels.

Mowczan called the Comfort Inn a "good fit" for the Traverse City area market because of its popularity with both business travelers and family vacationers.

"It's a nice brand," he said.

The Traverse Bay Lodge, built in 1998, features a two-story lobby with a stone fireplace, an indoor pool and spa, and exercise and meeting rooms. It will have around 20 employees. Work crews are removing old furniture and fixtures that are being donated to local nonprofit agencies, including Goodwill and the Women's Resource Center, Mowczan said.

Mowczan also is owner of the nearby Best Western Four Seasons Motel. He's working on plans to build a Cambria Suites lodge at that site as part of a mixed-use development known as SkipStone Crossing. Cambria Suites is an upscale brand of the Choice Hotels International group.

The Weaners will continue to own and operate the Traverse Bay Inn, a 24-room townhouse style lodge located at 2300 U.S. 31 North in East Bay Township.

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