Photo by Ann McCreary
Kristin and Josh Buehler are the new owners and managers of the Idle-A-While Motel in Twisp.

By Ann McCreary

One of Twisp’s iconic landmarks, the Idle-A-While Motel on Highway 20, has new owners who will continue operating the motel as it has in the past.

Josh and Kristin Buehler, who own Abbycreek Inn in Winthrop, purchased the Idle-A-While property last month. The Buehlers have moved into the five-bedroom house on the motel property and work as on-site managers.

“We have a growing family and needed a larger place to live,” said Josh Buehler. The couple has a 2-year-old daughter and another child due in August. The motel “has a really nice house, and we really like Twisp,” Buehler said.

Buehler said no big changes or remodels are currently planned for the 1960s-era motel. In fact, the new owners want to retain the motel’s retro atmosphere. “That’s a theme we’re going to be pursuing,” Buehler said. The motel may get some new paint and new furniture in the future, however, he said.

The Buehlers purchased Abbycreek Inn four years ago and are completing a large restoration project there, Buehler said. They employ a manager for Abbycreek Inn, he said.

The Idle-A-While has been for sale for several years. Last year a nonprofit housing organization, Spokane Housing Ventures, proposed purchasing the property and converting it to affordable rental housing. That proposal drew opposition from some Twisp town officials, who were reluctant to consider rezoning the property from commercial to residential, which would have been necessary for the project to move forward. Ultimately, Spokane Housing Ventures did not receive the funding it needed for the project.

Buehler said he and Kristin had considered purchasing the motel last May, “but that wasn’t something that made financial sense at the time.” After Spokane Housing Ventures pulled out of a purchase agreement last December, the Buehlers bought the motel last month.

The motel had been listed with Windermere Realty since 2014, said broker Delene Monetta. “Over the four years of marketing I negotiated six offers, including the offer in June 2017 from Spokane Housing Trust which terminated in December 2017,” she said.