Waterloo Inn to close after 43 years


Photo by Jessica Dik
Photo by Jessica Dik

On November 3, the Waterloo Inn Conference Hotel publicly announced their decision to close their doors after 43 years.

December 15 of this year is said to be the hotel’s last day of operation, located at 475 King Street N.

Mary D’Alton, president of the Waterloo Inn, explained that almost four years ago, the current owners of the Inn made the decision to explore their options and consider selling the property.

“There have been a lot of new properties and newly renovated and invested hotels,” said D’Alton.

In order to renovate the Waterloo Inn’s significant property, millions of dollars would have to be invested.With the necessity of a heavy investment and local competition, the Waterloo Inn’s owners decided that further reinvestment and renovations on the hotel’s property was not a feasible move both for their personal interests as well as from a planning perspective.

“It wasn’t a match anymore,” D’Alton explained.

Over the past couple of years, the Inn has considered many potential investors and buyers however the circumstances, timing or negotiations weren’t suitable.

The prospective buyer of the hotel began meeting with the Inn’s management this past summer.

There are no details as of yet in regards to the buyer’s plans for the property, but D’Alton is certain that the buyer’s plan will be significantly different and it is likely the buyer will partake in a notable investment.

“Whatever it is, it’s going to be visionary,” she said.

Although the prospective buyer plans to take over the property and assets, they do not intend on taking over any of the food, drink or staff.

D’Alton said that the news of the hotel’s upcoming closure was a huge shock and disappointment to their staff.

“To tell people that they’re not going to have a job in two months and not knowing what’s going to happen after is pretty tough,” she said.

After the announcement of their closure, the Waterloo Inn has hired an international firm that has set up a working centre at the hotel to hold private training sessions, in which hotel staff are able to work on their resumés, learn about computers, social media and more.

“My goal is to get as many [hotel] staff hired as I can,” said D’Alton. “I have actually had a lot of phone calls from the hotels, restaurants and bars in the area wanting to hire our staff, which is great.”

Not only was the announcement a shock for hotel staff, but for the public as well.

D’Alton said that since the release of the news, she has been overwhelmed with positive feedback from the public in regards to their substantial presence within Kitchener-Waterloo.

“I think it’s a function of the staff’s good reputation. I think the staff have provided quality product and good service for years, people are going to miss it.”

The hotel was built in 1972 by a group investors and shareholders and the property originally holding 40 rooms.

By 1978, the hotel underwent another small expansion that added another 40 rooms.

At the same time of the expansion, the hotel was sold to the second generation of shareholders, most of whom still own the property today.

Following suit in 1982, the investors added on the four-storey building and various other additional spaces.

“The last few months we’ve been really successful. It’s just a business decision. I think we’re going out on a high note,” said D’Alton.

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