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A place to land

Karin and Gust Tsiatsos with Deb and Merlyn Baker in The Landing's lobby.

Karin and Gust Tsiatsos with Deb and Merlyn Baker in The Landing’s lobby.

By Katy Nesbitt

The Landing, a boutique hotel in downtown La Grande, is quickly becoming a destination for tourists, business travelers and locals seeking a gourmet dining experience. According to owner Karin Tsiatsos, ’93, the hotel is just the right fit for the location.

Tsiatsos and her husband Gust, ’95, who own GCT Land Management, a general contracting, fire-fighting and rental management business, bought the 100-year-old home in 2015.

“My husband is quite the visionary,” Tsiatsos said. “When the building came up for sale and we realized is was zoned commercial, that got the ball rolling to do something different with it.”

Tsiatsos said the house was a single-family dwelling until the 1940s, when it was run as a boarding house for circuit court judges and railroad workers. She said when she moved to La Grande in the late 1980s it had apartments upstairs and an antique shop downstairs. In recent years it was run exclusively as an apartment building.

By the time Karin and Gust bought it, the building was in desperate shape.

“It was pretty run down,” Tsiatsos said. “The last ten years were pretty sad for that building.”

The couple saw its potential and began kicking around ideas for a downtown business.

The City of La Grande’s Urban Renewal Committee agreed that a hotel would be a good economic investment and granted them $75,000. The couple invested the same amount of their own money, as well as the labor of their construction crew into restoring the old building. Within a yearIMG_0210 and a half The Landing Hotel, with its five rooms, was open to the public.

“I’m happy people who are coming to La Grande stumble upon us,” Tsiatsos said.

By June, Tsiatsos said, they are booked until the first of November.

The Landing also boasts a full-service restaurant serving breakfast and dinner with Chef Merlyn Baker, formerly of Foley’s on Adams Street, at the helm.

“Merlyn is already established and makes amazing food, so that Processed with VSCO with a6 presetbrings in a whole different slew of people,” Tsiatsos said.

A resident of La Grande for 30 years, Tsiatsos first came to La Grande for her brother’s wedding in 1989. A community college student from Texas, she visited Eastern Oregon University during her stay. Within a couple months she was enrolled and a member of the track and basketball teams.

After graduating with a degree in physical education, she taught and coached at local schools, raised her children and helped run the family business. This spring her daughter is graduating from EOU and her son is graduating from La Grande High School.

Running the hotel is now a big part of Tsiatsos’ life, something she said she enjoys not only because of the guests, but because it is a vibrant part of the downtown business community.

“I love living here,” she said. “The area is beautiful, the people are great and the simple life is pretty terrific.”