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Owner’s death leaves questions about the future of historic inn

The historic Woodfield Inn, now named Mansouri Mansion, is one of dozens of properties now in Hasan Mansouri’s estate. The historic Woodfield Inn, now named Mansouri Mansion, is one of dozens of properties now in Hasan Mansouri’s estate.

FLAT ROCK — Flat Rock residents are anxious about the future of the historic Woodfield Inn after the death last month of its owner, one of the larger landowners in the county.


Low-profile in his real estate business and as proprietor of a prominent Flat Rock landmark, Hasan Mansouri had real estate holdings that ranged from Flat Rock to downtown Hendersonville to scattered lots across rural Henderson County.
Sheriff’s deputies and emergency personnel responding to a call at the Mansouri Apartments at 1:36 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 7, found Mansouri to be in full cardiac arrest in his pickup truck, said Sheriff’s Maj. Frank Stout. EMTs were unable to save him.
Mansouri had been buying property in and around Hendersonville since the mid-1990s. He bought the home and land where he lived on Nighthawk Lane, off Kanuga Lake Road across from Wilson Farm, in 1995. Built in 1917, the sprawling 6,910-square-foot home is valued at $1,685,100 and sits on 60 acres. The house and land together are valued at $2,499,500, according to property records.
He formed Mansouri LLC in 2009, according to N.C. secretary of state records, and bought the historic Woodfield Inn the same year, renaming it Mansouri Mansion. The following year he bought the group of apartments across Greenville Highway. The Woodfield Inn and surrounding 24 acres are valued at $2,234,500, with the 14,828-square-foot inn valued at $1.4 million.
Built in 1850 as the Farmer Hotel, the roadside inn was financed by 10 summer residents who put up $1,000 each, according to a history synopsis on the village of Flat Rock website. During the Civil War, coastal South Carolinians found a haven at the inn and for a time a company of soldiers remained on the grounds for the safety of the people in residence, the account said.
In recent times, the inn had fallen into poorer condition; closed the dining room and pub and offered little in the way of contemporary amenities. Reviews on travel websites are spotty, with even the more appreciative guests noting the lack of services.
“This place has so much potential and you won't die if you stay there,” one said. “Just don't expect much. It is so rundown and unkempt. … The grounds haven't been kept up, no telling when the grass was last cut. The inside is dark and dingy. Think ghost mansion.”
Renee Griffin, who was running the front desk on Monday, said that the inn is open for guests. Mansouri had planned to reopen the restaurant and resume the once prosperous business as a wedding venue and event destination but had not managed to as he aged. She said his two sons, Karim and Werner, plan keep the inn open. “He loved this place,” she said.
At Monday’s meeting of the Flat Rock Village Council, Mayor Nick Weedman brought up Mansouri’s passing.
“The question is what’s going to happen to the inn, the apartments across the street and a couple of lots behind Wrinkled Egg,” he said.
Mansouri had been represented in his real estate and business dealings by Hendersonville attorney Randy Romeo, who retired last fall. Edward Harrelson, who bought Romeo’s practice, did not return a phone call seeking information about plans for the estate. (Harrelson’s office had just heard about Mansouri’s death from Weedman on Monday.) Efforts to reach Mansouri’s son, Karim, who according to his Facebook page manages a country club in Bahrain, were unsuccessful.
In a Facebook post last July, Karim praised his father as “the number one soccer player in Bahrain” as a young man in the 1950s. Hasan Mansouri left the Persian Gulf island nation in 1955 to join the U.S. Air Force, Karim wrote, spending five years on active duty and eight years in the reserves. Returning to his home country in 1960, Mansouri took a job with General Motors Bahrain as a mechanic and later went into business as a real estate developer. In his mid-80s, his father “still drives to work seven days a week” in Flat Rock, Karim said.
In all, Mansouri owned 26 real estate parcels in Henderson County, valued at $10.35 million, according to land records. Besides his Flat Rock holdings, Mansouri owned houses, lots or vacant land in the county, including two vacant lots on Third Avenue East at Grove Street, two lots with small homes in the 800 block of Sixth Avenue West, 64 acres on Asheville Highway near Ferenvilla Drive, 7.7 acres on White Squirrel Lane off Kanuga, 25 acres in the Clear Creek area, 48 acres on Howard Gap Road containing a 2,332-square-foot home valued at $597,900, plus lots or land on Lake Drive in Laurel Park, Tracy Grove Road and Sugarloaf Road. Karim Mansouri owns a half-acre lot on Lake Drive in Laurel Park valued at $44,100, records show.