The beloved Mission Inn Museum is in danger of being evicted from its namesake, the historic Spanish-style landmark Mission Inn Hotel and Spa in the heart of downtown Riverside, over a fight about the lease.
Both the hotel and the museum attract tens of thousands of visitors every year for their rich history and the annual Festival of Lights celebration.
The Mission Inn Foundation runs the museum within the historic landmark hotel.
“We provide access to the artifacts, access to the tours and without that, the only way anyone would be able to see the hotel would be through meal, hotel stays and weddings, which means most of our citizens would never be able to experience it,” Jarod Hoogland, the executive director of the Mission Inn Foundation, told KTLA’s Shelby Nelson.
After a decades-long run, the museum could face eviction because of a disagreement over a new lease.
“It would sever the foundation and the museum from the hotel,” Hoogland explained. “The hotel is our soul. That is the whole purpose of our being, to promote this hotel.
The foundation has already created a petition that’s garnered nearly 1,500 signatures.
According to the City of Riverside, a lease was entered between the Riverside Redevelopment Agency and the historic Mission Inn Corporation, but the redevelopment agency was dissolved by the state legislature in 2013.
A successor agency was then implemented to wind down redevelopment activities, which the foundation falls under. As of Sept. 29, the Mission Inn Corporation served the successor agency and the Mission Inn Foundation a notice to vacate the premises.
“The 30-day notice is a prerequisite that our attorneys, our litigation attorneys, had to serve on the foundation just as the City of Riverside has done because the lease is with the City of Riverside. The foundation is a subtenant,” David Bristow, an attorney for the Mission Inn Corporation told KTLA.
Bristow added that they have been trying to work with the foundation to provide alternatives, but all their offers have been refused.
“The very first offer we received was 5 years and we were told that we wouldn’t know what would happen after that point,” Hoogland said.
Hoogland also said that according to the original lease from 1993, the foundation should be there for 50 years.
The Mission Inn Corporation’s attorney disputes that, saying that timeline is incorrect. Bristow said a lease was entered into in 2000, which expired in 2022.
KTLA learned that the foundation and the corporation were both notified about these issues in April 2022. Both Hoogland and Bristow expressed disappointment that the situation has come to this juncture but are hopeful they can find a solution.