Hilltop House Hotel Now Under Contract

The former Hilltop House Hotel at 400 Trinity Dr. is currently under contract. It went on the market the first week of May. It is owned by Atomic City Investments. Photo by Carol A. Clark/ladailypost.com
By Kirsten Laskey
Los Alamos Daily Post

After three months with a for sale sign posted in front of it, the former Hilltop House Hotel the Hilltop House Hotel is now under contract.

The current owners, Atomic City Investments, owned the property at 400 Trinity Dr. for four years before deciding to abandon the goal of reopening the hotel.

During the Oct. 1 regular Los Alamos County Council meeting, Council Chair Sara Scott reported that the property was under contract and Atomic City Investment Director Kuzi Mutsiwegota confirmed the news with the Los Alamos Daily Post Tuesday.

Since the sale is not final, Mutsiwegota said he couldn’t discuss many of its details; however, Zia Realty Group is the listing agent and the property was priced at $2 million, according to an earlier story in the Los Alamos Daily Post.

Scott told the Daily Post it is her understanding that the potential buyers are interested in having the property be zoned for mixed use. This means housing as well as other types of uses such as office or retail space, she said.

She added that the purchase of the former hotel is a positive thing for the County because it helps further achieve one of Council’s strategic priorities, which is addressing vacant commercial properties in town.

“I think it’s a good step … it is one of Council’s priorities to address long term vacancies. We have needs for housing and commercial space so we are pleased this space will be used for things the community needs and wants as opposed to having a large empty building at the primary entrance to town,” Scott said.

Although what will actually go onto the property is not yet determined, Scott said the buyers have expressed that they want to develop their plans based on the County’s needs.

Mutsiwegota also said he believes the sale will be a step in the right direction for Los Alamos.

“Our group understands the importance of the location of that property,” he said. “We gave our best efforts to getting the existing hotel back online but it just didn’t work out. We’re excited for Los Alamos to get new energy in the space.”

Mutsiwegota said although Atomic City Investment’s plans for the hotel fell through, it will continue to be a partner of the Los Alamos community through the Pajarito Mountain Ski Area.

The Hilltop House has had a rough history. It was reported previously in the Los Alamos Daily Post that the hotel’s troubles first surfaced in August 2012 when investors discovered that their managing partner had put the hotel up for sale. The hotel then failed to make its $26,000 monthly mortgage payments, spurring Los Alamos National Bank to file foreclosure proceedings against the hotel in October 2012.

Atomic City Investments, which is comprised of members of the Sipapu Group, purchased the hotel in 2015. It has sat vacant since.

Mutsiwegota explained the Hilltop House is actually several buildings lumped together and it was discovered that the cost to bring all the structures into compliance with County code would be too much.