Lodge at the lake: DeGeorge develops Detroit Lake getaway

July, 2010 Posted in Business

By Mary Owen

Opal Creek, Fisherman’s Flats, Three-Fingered Jack – all local points of interest and most recently names given to rooms at the newly renovated lodge at Detroit Lake.

“Hopefully people will enjoy what we have built and come to realize that they can come to the Detroit Lake area at any time of the year to find a very acceptable and comfortable accommodation,” said Doug DeGeorge, a Carmel, Calif., contractor and co-owner of The Lodge with businessman Frank Guistiani of Dallas, Texas.

The renovated rooms in the craftsman-style lodge on the main street in town opened to the public in June, and is the second project for DeGeorge, who also renovated the Silverton Inn & Suites in downtown Silverton.

DeGeorge, a general contractor for 38 years, has built many of the lavish homes and restaurants – including remodeling Clint Eastwood’s famous Hog’s Breath restaurant – in the Carmel, Pebble Beach, Carmel Highlands and Carmel Riviera areas. In 2003, he bough a 53-acre Christmas tree farm in the Silverton hills to help supply the Kris Kringle Foundation – which he founded and chairs – with a steady supply of Noble trees. The foundation has given away more than 8,000 Christmas trees and close to 40,000 toys to needy families over the past 15 years, as well as books, stuffed animals and age-appropriate toys to young patients at Natividad Hospital in Salinas, Calif. over the past decade.

“When I found out how expensive it was to take a farm and turn it into the beautiful farm that I wanted, I reactivated my contractor’s license and built eight homes and the Silverton Inn project,” he said. His wife, Elaine, and sons, Doug Jr., 17, and Danny, 16, discovered the beauty of Detroit Lake.

“While I was building in Silverton, my wife would take the boys out exploring different areas of Oregon,” he said. “She made it very clear to me that Detroit Lake was where she wanted to be spending a lot more of her free time.”

When DeGeorge, who lives part-time in Silverton and part-time in Carmel, met with Guistiani, the two discovered they had grown up in the same area of Long Island, N.Y.

When Guistiani, a 25-year veteran of Southwest Airlines, visited the Silverton Inn, he decided to blend his love of travel and tourism with the Detroit Lake project. In 2009, Guistiani joined DeGeorge as co-owner of The Lodge.

“I was drawn to the natural beauty of Detroit Lake,” he said. “I saw the potential in the city of Detroit and made a commitment to invest in the future of that community.”

Guistiani hopes to move to the area in the future, as does DeGeorge, who said, “We look forward to spending a great deal of our time in the suite as our children mature. We think it’s going to be a great place to spend a lot of our retirement years.”

The Lodge has four two-queen-bed rooms, one three-queen-bed room, and the corner suite that can accommodate up to six.

“It was built as our home in Detroit Lake for when we have the opportunity to spend time here,” DeGeorge said of the latter unit, which features a bedroom with a king-sized bed, a fireplace, and living room and loft sleeping area, each with a 42-inch flat screen TV. The room includes a full bath with two-person jetted tub/shower combo, a full kitchen with full-sized refrigerator, four-burner stove/oven, and microwave. When the DeGeorges aren’t there the suite will be available to rent.

Eight lodge rooms – five currently under renovation – ranging from $79 to $199, are named for area sights: Big Cliff Bungalow, Opal Creek Quarters, Hoodoo Hide-Away, French Creek Corner, Detroit Lake Suite, Jefferson Junction, Santiam Shelter, Fisherman’s Flats, Canyon Chambers, Three-Fingered Jack, Forestry Cottage and Piety Abode. Each room has a kitchenette, 42-inch flat screen TV, jetted tub, fireplace, built-in air conditioning, on-demand hot water, and WiFi Internet access. The Lodge also has a back-up generating power system.

“When the power is down, we’re not,” the website boasts.

DeGeorge and Guistiani hope The Lodge will impact local restaurants, markets and businesses in a positive way, providing incentive for others to open businesses in town. They also hope to bring a few of the businesses together for what DeGeorge calls “incredible offers” during the off season, such as dinner for two and drinks at the bar at the Corner Post or Cedars and a room at the lodge for $49.

“We think that great deals like that will make people decide not to stay home and cook dinner, but rather get away to Detroit,” he said. “We are willing to market the hotel at such great rates as these for however long it takes to change people’s concept of the Detroit Lake area, and become accustomed to making it a fall and winter destination.”

DeGeorge said lodgers have “absolutely raved about how glad they are that this type of accommodation is available.”

Currently, DeGeorge is undertaking a remodel in Pebble Beach for the manager of the rock band, Journey. In the near future, he will be in Oregon’s Dundee/Newberg area to build a 40- to 50-room boutique wine country hotel, complete with cave dining.

“I have a very strong passion and love for wine, with many of the best winery owners being friends of mine,” said DeGeorge, who would like to build the winery solely funded by investors. “When it gets built, it will be my signature piece, representing the skills of my almost 40 years experience and the highlight of my building career.”

Meanwhile, Detroit Lake’s newest offering, The Lodge, will provide a place for the DeGeorge’s to relax or perhaps, in the future, call “home.”

“The Lodge sets the benchmark for fine lodging in the beautiful little town of Detroit, Oregon,” DeGeorge proudly said.

For information call 503-854-3344 or visit www.lodegatdetroitlake.com.

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