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The Cerulean Hotel hosted about 50 people for its ribbon-cutting ceremony Thursday, officially opening the 91-room hotel to the public.

Owned and operated by the Running Y Ranch Resort, the hotel — formerly a Quality Inn — sits at the south end of Main, 100 Main St., between Main and Klamath Avenue. It will undergo a $100,000 renovation and $50,000 in façade improvements.

Its adjacent restaurant, which has been vacant for five years, will undergo $300,000 in renovations. The restaurant, named the Apatite (a blue rock that keeps with the theme blue for the project) will open by mid-summer, according to the construction manager, Roy Tyler of the Running Y.

“The restaurant will seat about 300 people and be open for breakfast, lunch and dinner,” he said. The menu will be similar to the Ruddy Duck Restaurant menu at the Running Y with an emphasis on Blue Zones-approved food. Blue Zones is a health initiative in Klamath Falls that encourages healthy lifestyles.

The hotel has a swimming pool, hot tub and rooms average $98 a night. Its target audience is the casual traveler and business people.

Hotel, restaurant jobs

It will employ 30 to 40 hotel workers and nearly 50 restaurant workers.

The Cerulean building’s former owners, Dave and Donna Molatore were on hand for the ribbon-cutting.

“I’m glad to see the improvements,” said Dave Molatore. “It’s been a long time coming.”

“We needed this for this end of town,” chimed in Donna Molatore.

The Molatore family has been a staple in the hotel business since 1932, when Dave’s grandfather ran the Metropolitan Hotel and restaurant that once sat across from the Winema Hotel on the north end of Main Street. A portion of that lot is being developed for a new “pocket” park this year.

33 rooms in 1958

The Molatores opened Molatore’s Motor Inn in 1958 when it was surrounded by a much more active commercial district. It was 33 rooms back then.

“There was Modoc Lumber on the east side, a service station and parking garage that went two floors underground on the north side, and other commercial buildings in Veterans Park at that time,” said Dave Molatore.

The family also ran the adjacent Dynasty restaurant for 40 years after starting it in 1961.

George Rogers, manager of Running Y, told the audience, “It’s great to be part of the downtown. Klamath Falls is definitely on the move. We hope we can live up to the legacy of the Molatore’s, too.”