SHIPSHEWANA — The owner of the Blue Gate Restaurant and Theater has its eyes on buying the Amish Country Inn and its water park.
Riegsecker Marketplace has a purchase agreement for the hotel with plans to close the deal by the end of May, according to company marketing director Andy Rohrer. The three-story hotel at 800 S. Van Buren St. has 154 guest rooms and a conference area as well as an old-fashioned ice cream and soda shop.
“An upscale hotel has been a part of our company’s vision for quite some time,” company president Ryan Riegsecker said in a news release. “We planned on building a lodging facility as a complement and extension to our restaurant, theater and retail stores, and this opportunity matched our goals without adding more rooms to Shipshewana’s five existing hotels.”
As part of the deal, the attached 26,000-square-foot indoor water park would close, Rohrer said. Splash Universe, also known as the Wana Waves Waterpark, opened in late 2007, but financial troubles and a lack of visitors spoiled the waterpark’s fanfare.
“We feel that to better fit the needs of the hotel’s visitor, transforming that area into a different type of hotel amenity instead of a paid attraction will be more beneficial,” Riegsecker said.
The Amish Country Inn will be re-branded as the Blue Gate Garden Inn, adding to Riegsecker Marketplace’s family of companies which includes the Blue Gate Restaurant and Bakery, Blue Gate Theater, the Shipshewana Furniture Company, the Craft Barn, the Hitching Post Toy Store and Frozen Yogurt Shoppe, Riegsecker Cabinet Company and Riegsecker Carriage.
“We’re still in the very early stages of discussions,” Rohrer said. “If the sale goes through, there will be some changes to the rooms to make them a little more friendly to our demographic. We are in early discussions on what else we would add to the hotel, but we plan to run it as a full-service hotel with typical room sizes and amenities.”