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Studebaker enthusiast looking to open his second Air BNB hotel and museum

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SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Donald Lindner is a Studebaker enthusiast, and his two Avantis which is a model the plant made in the 1960s are more than cars. 

His love for the Studebaker Avanti became his inspiration in 2015 when he opened ‘Avanti House,’ a guest house and museum. Inside the home on Thomas Street, Lindner has placed Studebaker and Avanti memorabilia in every room for his guests and the community to learn about the carmaker and his favorite model. 

“Great history of South Bend here,” said Lindner. 

Lindner placed the home on the home-sharing application, Air BNB, in 2015. Guests can book one of six rooms for $375 a night, according to the app. 

The original Avanti House is across the street from the National Studebaker Museum On Chapin Street. Now, Lindner is looking to open a second location next door to the museum. 

“I thought it’d be a perfect match,” he said. “But certainly there’s others that don’t agree with that.”

On Tuesday, St. Joseph County Area Plan Commission voted unfavorably for Lindner’s request to rezone the Chapin house in order to create a six-room hotel. The Near West Side Neighborhood Association voted in February against Lindner’s plans. 

President Marty Mechtenberg said he isn’t sure if neighbors are opposed to what Lindner is trying to do, but they are against having commercial properties in an area he said they’ve worked to keep residential. He said if Lindner is allowed to rezone the house on Chapin St. that it could allow for more commercial properties to occupy the neighborhood. 

“The idea of other commercial uses moving to that section of the neighborhood was very alarming,” said Mechtenberg. 

Lindner said at his current guesthouse, which is listed as a residential zone, he gives his guests the best of both worlds. 

“Some of them want a nice relaxed atmosphere and some want a hotel,” Lindner said. 

He will go in front of the Common Council in August, where they will allow or deny the rezoning request. Lindner said until then he is going to work on getting the support of his neighbors. 

So far, 20 people from the neighborhood have signed his petition for the second Avanti House. 

“I have all pluses to offer the neighborhood,” Lindner said. 

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