Economy Inn motel may be forced to close

The Economy Inn, a 30-room motel located at 7284 W. Appleton Ave. in Milwaukee’s central city, may be forced to close. The motel’s hotel/motel license is up for renewal. The city’s Licenses Committee will meet today to consider its renewal. However, the City Department of Neighborhood Services (DNS) has recommended that the license not be renewed.

"(The motel) is operated in such a manner that it generates complaints from neighbors relating to, but not limited to, loud and raucous noise, undesirable activities of guests, and has a substantial adverse effect upon the health, safety, convenience and property interests of the surrounding neighborhood," said Martin Collins, DNS commissioner in a letter to City Clerk Ronald Leonhardt.

Since January 2006, Milwaukee Police have responded to numerous calls at the motel for allegations of sexual assault, battery, armed robbery, fighting, theft and other alleged crimes. The motel has also received citations for building code and fire code violations during that time.

The owners of the motel, Harjinder Singh and Harpeet Khangura, say they are working to clean up the motel and eliminate the problems. They say they took over full ownership of the business in September, buying out a partner. They moved from California to take on full control of the motel. Since then, they say have cleaned the motel, re-painted the building, replaced the old furniture with new furniture and have worked to bring the building up to code.

"The place is clean," Singh said. Also, at the request of Ald. Michael Murphy, they closed the motel bar in March. Singh and Khangura say they have dramatically reduced problems at the motel since they took it over in September. They recently received a $1.1 million loan, backed by the U.S. Small Business Administration, from Community Bank & Trust, for the business.

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