The Hotel Pattee will officially be handed off to Tom Maxwell, of Illinois, starting March 1. According to Maxwell, a local Perry General Manager has been hired to run the daily business, while Maxwell will oversee the operation from Illinois. Maxwell plans to be in Perry around 10 to 15 days each month, or as frequently as possible.
Without a daily presence at the Hotel Pattee, Maxwell asked the current owners, Jay and Denise Hartz, as well as local business leaders if the community would support the change.
“Of course the response that I’ve received from so many people in the community is overwhelmingly yes,” Maxwell said. “Especially if, as the owner, I’m here 10-15 days a month.”
The name of the individual who has been hired as the General Manager has not yet been released, but will start within the first couple of weeks in February.
“I thought surely I can find someone that’s talented, that has the education and the focus within hotel hospitality [who] would be able to run this every single day with my influence,” Maxwell said. “And with me being in contact with them constantly on making sure that we do keep the integrity of this hotel as is.
“I definitely did not want to change that.”
Seeking recommendations from those in the community, Maxwell credits Dan Spellman and Matt McDevitt for their guidance during the search.
“They came up with a couple of names for me to consider,” Maxwell said. “When I talked to the person I ultimately hired, I realized it was just going to be an absolute perfect fit for the Hotel.
“I think the community will be very pleased and I think the employees will be very pleased with the person that will be the General Manager.”
Finding The Hotel Pattee
Residing in Edwardsville, Ill., Maxwell is married to Vickie Maxwell, and the couple have two daughters, ages 21 and 23.
Together, the family have been involved in a variety of business ventures.
“She [Vickie] owns a couple of dance studios in the area that we’re from,” Maxwell said. “I retired from running a medical implant business at the end of 2016.”
Maxwell also is the owner of “The Max Sports, LLC.,” an athletic facility based in Alton, Ill.
For Maxwell, owning a hotel was a business venture he wanted to take part in.
“I started researching hotels [and] I’ve always had an interested in getting into the hotel business,” Maxwell said.
During the start of his search, he looked for areas that his medical company conducted business from: Kansas, Missouri, and southern Illinois. After a few deals fell through, Maxwell directed his search to Iowa, where he stumbled upon the front doors of the Hotel Pattee.
“After a couple of clicks I saw the front of this hotel,” Maxwell said. “As soon as I saw the lobby I’m like, okay, this is a special place.”
He began to research, discovering the history of Roberta Ahmanson’s footprint and investment in The Hotel Pattee. Later, he decided a trip to was necessary.
“Jay and Denise were great to me and they were so transparent and open with their operations here,” Maxwell said. “My first visit I knew [that] I needed to make an offer.”
“My wife hadn’t even seen it and we already had the process rolling.”
The Hotel Pattee aligned with a vision Maxwell had as a traveler and as an entrepreneur.
“I always liked the idea of a full-service property where you could stay, you could dine, you could lounge, obviously the Hotel Pattee has a nice spa - those are the type of locations I like to stay,” Maxwell said. “I just felt it was a very good investment.”
The Maxwell’s visited the Hotel Pattee together on Wednesday, Jan. 17 for a meet and a greet with members of the community.
“I think from the first visit to where we are today - it’s been probably a month,” Maxwell said.
Investing in Perry
The Maxwell’s had not visited Perry prior to seeing The Hotel Pattee, but had ventured out to Des Moines in the past. Perry’s historic buildings and downtown caught Maxwell’s interest.
“There’s so many historic buildings along Second Avenue and in town, and what immediately captured me was the first time I came to the hotel,” Maxwell said. “The beauty of the Hotel and the history of the Hotel - [I] absolutely fell in love with it immediately.”
Maxwell was also impressed with Perry’s hospitality and kindness.
“The people that I started meeting even the first week here were so kind and genuine,” Maxwell described. “Where I grew up [and] where I currently live, there’s a lot of nice people in those areas, but just an overall group of people - I think Perry’s pretty special.”
There is potential of future building purchases by Maxwell in Perry, he describes.
“There was a building that I was interested in looking at [to] possibly add more space to the Hotel, but I understand it’s under contract,” Maxwell said.
Overall, Perry’s location is promising, Maxwell explains.
“When I saw the Hotel for the first time, obviously I had not heard about Perry, Iowa,” Maxwell said. “So you quickly check to see where it’s located in the state and [I] realized it was very close to Des Moines.”
“That’s exciting because it’s an area of potential growth and you start looking at [how] Omaha isn’t too far away, Ames is close, [and] you’re just trying to figure out where you can expand and grow your business via marketing.
“I think Perry is located in a great spot.”
Maxwell anticipates a few maintenance projects for the The Hotel, and plans to stay in Perry more in February before the official ownership takes place in March.
“Jay and Denise both have been great and they’ve been open to staying on and helping us with the transition,” Maxwell said. “It’s going to go month-to-month, but we’re willing to stay as long as three months if we need to.”
“It’s great to know that you have their support, their expertise of hotel business and industry to help us with this project when we first get started; there’s so much to do in the beginning, and to have their help through the transition is absolutely wonderful.”