OAKLAND -- The city's aggressive effort to curb prostitution in two rundown motels is being labeled a success as both properties that were forced to close are now in the midst of redevelopment.
The National Lodge at 1711 International Blvd. and the Economy Inn at 122 E. 12th St. were ordered closed by a state judge last year after the City Attorney's Office provided overwhelming evidence that owners fostered prostitution in their motel rooms.
Now, both properties either have undergone a rehabilitation or have plans to do so.
The Economy Inn was the first to reopen after a court-appointed receiver handed over operations of the motel to Vantage Hospitality Group Inc., an Ohio-based firm that operates under the name America's Best Value Inn.
The motel, a longtime eyesore at the corner of the recently redeveloped Lake Merritt Channel, is owned by Hansaben Khatri and Rajeshkumar Khatri but will be run by Vantage Hospitality Group under conditions imposed by a judge when the motel was closed last year.
Those conditions do not allow the Khatri family to operate the motel directly, and the conditions also require certain security measures such as cameras and 24-hour guards. In addition, the motel remains under court jurisdiction and can be shuttered again if prostitution activity begins.
Meanwhile, owners of the National Lodge have agreed to sell their property to two men who plan to knock down the motel and build a strip mall with retail and office space.
The property was sold in July. It remains unclear when construction will begin.
"The closure and sale of this hotel is one victory in our ongoing fight to stop this industry abuse, and helps to protect the quality of life for residents and businesses in the neighborhood," City Attorney Barbara Parker said in a statement. "This is an excellent outcome."