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FULL STORY: Worthington natives purchase Hotel Thompson

Thompson signing
Robert Buysse (right) and Mitch Clark (center) signed the purchase agreement for the Hotel Thompson in the amount of $410,000. (Leah Ward / The Globe)

WORTHINGTON — In competition with two other interested parties, Worthington natives Robert Buysse and Mitch Clark were the high bidders on the Hotel Thompson for $410,000 at a live auction Thursday afternoon.

"We came prepared to buy the Thompson," said Buysse said, adding that he and Clark decided to purchase the property after reading about its sale in The Globe.

Buysse grew up on Lake Okabena and lived in Worthington for his first 40 years; his father owned Buysse Motors. Buysse and his wife moved to North Carolina in 1988 so she could continue her education, and they ended up staying.

Clark is Buysse's nephew. He remembers taking shelter for warmth inside the Hotel Thompson while he delivered newspapers in high school.

Clark moved to North Carolina to go into business with his uncle 16 years ago. Together, they own and operate Clark Unlimited Properties LLC.

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"We have a strong history here," Buysse said of their sentimental attachment to the Thompson.

Buysse and Clark have big plans for the Thompson. They are working with Kyle Johnson of Johnson Builders and Realty and have planned a two-year renovation project.

First, they will replace the roof and the boiler and renovate the top floor. Next, they will renovate the second-floor apartments. Last, they will improve the façade and street level commercial space. Each of these phases is planned to take six months, but they have included an extra six months as a cushion.

"We plan to restore and beautify the place while preserving the historical significance of the property," Clark explained.

"We're quite confident we can do that," Buysse added.

Buysse and Clark already have a contractor lined up for the project, as well as financing. They will work with the city of Worthington to restore the Thompson's former glory.

"It's a project that can be a win-win for us and for the city," Buysse said.

"We're going to do it right," Clark promised.

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Thompson buyers
Robert Buysse (left) and Mitch Clark are the new owners of the Hotel Thompson. Following the sale, friend Bill Kietel gave Buysse and Clark an artwork depicting the Thompson during its prime. (Leah Ward / The Globe)

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