1960s-era signage rises at Village Inn complex in Lompoc ahead of June revival | Local News

The Vandenberg Village resort, Village Inn, was buzzing with excitement on Wednesday as construction crews erected a 1,000-pound 1960s “Village Inn” sign atop a 34-foot steel “V” at the front of the historic property, signaling a near return to the community.

The brightly colored signage is a nod to its 1960s predecessor – a mid-century modern architectural style reflecting the post-World War II period that popularized clean lines, functional design and simplistic composition.

“We are very excited,” said hotelier Dave Mercer. “The sign has everyone on fire – many locals are also very excited to see it again.”

The property, which has undergone extensive renovations since the summer of 2021, is expected to officially open to the public in June, according to Mercer.

Above all, Mercer said, the station’s iconic design was the reason for the purchase.






Hotelier Dave Mercer watches crews continue construction of the soon-to-be-unveiled Village Inn resort complex in the village of Vandenberg in Lompoc.



“That’s what made us buy the place,” Mercer said, referencing his historic lineage depicted in a vintage postcard from the late 1960s that shows the resort in its heyday, brandishing the same clean lines and distinctive yellow signage up front.

“I said, ‘We have to do this – that’s very cool,'” he added.

Located minutes from downtown Lompoc, heading north along Highway 1 in the village of Vandenberg, the nearly 7-acre property, formerly the White Oaks Hotel, was purchased in October 2019 for 3 .1 million by Mercer’s real estate investment company, Realty Center Management Inc., or RCMI, located in Culver City. The company also owns the Diplomat apartment complex in Vandenberg Village.

The Village Inn’s history dates back to the late 1960s and 1970s, when its popularity as a gathering place for entrepreneurs and others who were in town doing business at Vandenberg Air Force Base offered respite thanks to short-term accommodation. It was renamed Spaceport Inn in the 1980s, then Days Inn in the 1990s, and today bears its original name.

Since its purchase more than two years ago, the entire property has been gutted and renovated – right down to the sewer lines and electrical system, according to RCMI representative Wally Kane, while preserving some historic features , including its retro design.

One example, Kane said, is the sleek terrazzo floor uncovered under the old moor found in the lobby and bar, which has since been removed.

“We’re just going to tone it all down and leave it as it is,” Kane said, noting that the wail, with its own story, was likely added during a 1970s update to accommodate a dance floor from the 1970s. disco era. .

Another feature that will endure, Kane said, is an original stone and stucco wall, which was built for the hotel’s interior in the 1960s. In an effort to extend the wall, Kane said the he team was able to locate additional stones from the original construction in a local rock quarry. These stones have since been installed in a low wall adjoining the mezzanine upstairs.

“Dave and I set it all up from the start,” he said. “We don’t slap him under any circumstances.”

Developers are buying the historic Vandenberg Village complex for $3.1 million and hope to restore the property to its former glory

When complete, the property will feature 61 mid-century themed rooms, each with a private patio. A selection of double-queen suites and ADA accessible suites will be available. Other features will include a renovated swimming pool and terrace, a pool house, garden gazebos and a special wedding venue on the back lawn. There are also plans to plant wine grapes along the front of the property.

“We hope to get 1,500 to 2,000 bottles of what we plant to serve in the restaurant,” Kane noted.

According to general manager Chris Milton, the restaurant and bar – named “Dave’s Place” – will offer a full menu of California-style local cuisine and specialty drinks that cater to affordable and gourmet budgets.

“We want our soldiers to be able to dine here,” Milton said, referring to nearby Vandenberg Space Force Base. “I’m a disabled veteran, so we want to welcome them here.”

In addition to indoor dining in the restaurant and bar and upstairs mezzanine seating for cocktails and hors d’oeuvres, al fresco dining will also be an option for guests, as spaces Individual and self-contained restorations called “pods” will be available. .

“The nostalgic part of this project, and what it really means to people, is what makes it fun,” Milton said. “That’s what keeps us going because you know what it’s going to mean for the community.”

Lisa André covers lifestyle and local news for Santa Ynez Valley News and Lompoc Record, editions of the Santa Maria Times.

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