Downtown's Nestle Inn under new ownership

November 18, 2011

Nearly 12 years after opening Nestle Inn Bed & Breakfast, Steve and Barb Tegarden have sold the facility at 637 N. East St. to local residents Leesa and Robert Smith.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. The Tegardens told IBJ they paid $250,000 for the 6,500-square-foot Victorian and converted it from a rental property into a B&B.

“The timing in taking over the business of Nestle Inn couldn’t have been better,” said Leesa Smith. “More and more business travelers are looking for a more individualized and personal travel experience, and more Midwest travelers are planning a driving distance weekend getaway, and Mass Ave is certainly a weekend getaway location.”

The Nestle Inn, built in 1896, features five guest rooms with private bathrooms and coded entry systems. There are also several common areas at the inn.

Leesa Smith isn’t new to the hospitality industry. She began her career in the administration office at the Hyatt Regency Indianapolis in 1979. She later worked at the 2,000-room Hyatt in Chicago as a catering, marketing and hospitality suites manager.

She then came back to Indianapolis to attend graduate school and began working at Fairbanks Addiction Treatment Center. For the last 16 years, she has been the Fairbanks director of marketing and business development.

Robert Smith is a 30-year veteran of the Indianapolis Fire Department. He also has a doctorate in psychology and operates a counseling practice serving people who struggle with the effects of trauma.

The Tegardens opened Nestle Inn after Steve retired as superintendent of Carmel Clay Schools. Barb had been a community college instructor.

“We decided it was time to retire for a second time, and get it right this time,” Steve Tegarden said. “This has been planned for quite a while.”

Tegarden said he and his wife fell in love with the Chatham Arch neighborhood where the Nestle Inn is located and will remain in the area.

“Chatham Arch is the most community-oriented place we’ve ever lived,” Tegarden said. “So we’ve bought a little house and will be living just two blocks north of the Nestle Inn.”

With the Super Bowl and other events coming to Indianapolis in 2012, Tegarden said the business is in good shape.

“We built it up to where we were just as busy as we wanted to be,” Tegarden said. “With the Super Bowl, they’ll be booked solid that week. [Leesa Smith] has lots of experience with hospitality and marketing, so I think they'll do very well.”


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