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 Introducing Tony - Bio and History

We are who and where we came from. It is so important to never forget that for it can define what we are able to achieve in life.

Dads resident alien card inside photo

Tony Sammut was born in Europe on the island of Malta in 1936 where he grew up with his three brothers and two sisters. He came to the United States with his family in 1947 where he finished high school and worked as a machinist for Michigan Gear. His father worked as a laborer for Ford Motor Company and later for Michigan Gear also. He became a U.S. citizen in 1956 and served a term in the U.S. National Gaurd. He was married to his wife Tina Borg, the daughter of Maltese immigrants already living in Michigan in 1959. Their daughter Terry was born in 1960 and their twin sons, Charlie and George were born in 1961.

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Tony’s High school grad. photo

Dad National Gaurd Dad and family 1962

1956 ~ Tony served a term in the U.S. National Guard.

1962 Tony & wife Tina with kids, Terry, Charile & George in Michigan.

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Rt: Al & Tony with sons ~ building the Laurel Inn.

In 1965 , he left Michigan and moved the family to Redwood City where he continued to do machinist work for Western Gear Co. and partnered with his brother, Al Sammut, to own, operate, and eventually further develop a small motel in Salinas called the Eldorado Motel. Al lived at the motel with his family while Tony commuted from Redwood City to assist.

Building the Laurel 1

In 1972, Tony left Western Gear and moved his family to Salinas where he and Al built the first 54 units of the Laurel Inn Motel in Salinas ~ and “built” by the very definition of the word for pride and finances required them and their families to do much of the construction work themselves. Through the years and several additions later, the Laurel Inn is now 144 units and still a pillar in the Salinas business community today as well as the home office of Al and Tony and Tony Sammut Development.

Laurel Inn Ribbon cutting ceremony framed sml

(Left to right) brother, Al Sammut ~ mother & father Nina & George Sammut ~ Tony Sammut

When the Laruel Inn saw it’s grand opening in 1973, the entire Sammut family was together for the ribbon cutting ceremony.

It was no doubt, one of George and Nina Sammut’s proudest moments.

Tony and his family lived in and operated the Laurel Inn in an extremely hands on fashion, it truly was a “family run” business.

This was the true kick start of Sammut Brothers Development for Tony and Al continued together to develop and bring several new names to Salinas to include Wendys Restaurant, Taco Bell Restaurant and more.

Eventually the Eldorado Motel was sold to a family member and Al built a home north of Salinas.

family photo terrys wedding framed sml


(left to right) son, George Sammut ~ daughter, Terry Sammut ~ Tony Sammut ~ wife, Tina Sammut ~ son, Charlie Sammut

Tony and family continued to live at the Laurel Inn until his kids finished high-school and got on about their lives.

His son Charlie Sammut went on to become a police officer in the city of Seaside, his son George went on to operate yet another Inn developed by Sammut Brothers in Gilroy California (The Forest Park Inn), and his daughter Terry ran the Laruel Inn with Al’s son, Alan.

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It was in 1982, Tony built a home for he and his wife Tina in the Hills of Corral De Tierra-Salinas and moved out of the Laurel Inn. Once again, Tony’s hands on approach to life saw him building his house himself from start to finish. The home allowed Tony to further is hobby and passion for horses of which he still enjoys today.

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In 1994, Tony and Al developed what is still today their largest development, Westridge Center in North Salinas. This development brought the community such retail giants as Costco, Walmart, Starbucks, Pet Smart and many others. It was an incredible achievement for two brothers, the sons of their father, a Maltese immigrant who worked as a laborer his entire life. But it was this old fashion foundation that molded these two men into the kind of personalities required to achieve such goals in the very trying and aggressive industry of land development and we truly feel the community benefits greatly from their efforts.    

Tony and Al Sammut continue to own and operate the many accomplishments of Sammut Brothers Development today. They are still seated side by side at their home office in the Laurel Inn complex. In 1999, Tony and Al chose to move forward in life at different paces. Both began venturing into individual and separate developing ventures to include the final fazes of Westridge Center. This was the beginning of Tony Sammut Development

In 2003, Tony gambled on a vacant and run-down property on Fremont Street in Monterey. The gamble was water, of which there was none. There was a moratorium on development in Monterey due to the lack of water. The innovative thinking for which Tony is so well known allowed him to move forward on the property for he dug a well and developed a reverse osmosis water system which today, services the many tenants of  the Cypress Center that Tony developed on the property without utilizing the city’s supply of water.  

In 2007, Tony again was broke ground on a property adjacent to the Salinas Auto Center in North Salinas. Zoning and political issues assured this property a long and vacant future prior to Tony’s involvement but Tony exercised his patience and persistence. Today, the property is home to Tony’s newest development, Boronda Crossing which once again brought several new names to the community to make life more convenient for all.

In 2007, Tony moved towards the completioin of Boronda Crossing. Although his family continues their attempts to persuade him to consider slowing down and dabbling with retirement, they know the chances are slim for it’s just not Tony’s way. Tony doesn’t consider what he does “work”. He truly enjoys develpment and although he hasn’t announced any future plans to anyone yet, we know he has something brewing in the back of his mind because he always does...


Tony’s daughter, Terry, continues today to run the Laurel Inn with her cousin Alan as well as assist Tony in managing his many developments. For this reason, The Laruel Inn and Tony Sammut Development continue to define “family run” and continue to see success for doing so. Terry brings one granddaughter into Tony’s life, Christina.


Upon the sale of Forest Park in Gilroy, Tony’s son George became a partner in a restaurant chain called Black Bear Diner. The restaurants are all over California (three in Monterey County) and all doing very well. Success is very apparent for George who continues to move forward with his partners in developing future Black Bear Diners. George is also a dedicated horse enthusiast, a hobby for which he and Tony often share time. He brings two grand children into Tony’s life, Nicole and Anthony. George, his wife Sandra and their family live in Gilroy, CA.

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Tony’s son Charlie moved a very unique and different direction in life after leaving his career in law enforcement in 1986. He embraced his passion for animals and developed a wild animal training facility (Wild Things A. R. Inc.) which trains animal for the film, television and education industries. Charlie’s home and property is located just off the Monterey/Salinas Hwy. (Vision Quest Ranch) and has evolved today to include a 51 acre facility open to the public to view his animals, a pet boarding facility (Oxton Kennels), The Vision Quest Equestrian Center, as well as the an African Elephant sanctuary (E.A.R.S.). And in keeping with his family history, the property is home to a very unique Safari Bed & Breakfast. Tony has a quiet but definite love of animals and many say he lives a secret life vicariously through Charlie’s facility.... Charlie brings two grand children into Tony’s life, Justin and Briana. 

Ask him why he does it and he’ll tell you, “for my grand kids, all for my grand kids”...

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left to right: Justin, Briana, Anthony (front), Nicole, Tina & Tony, and Christina.

Your generosity is a reflection of your success and your appreciation of that success...

As we believe all successful/responsible business people and businesses should do, Tony Sammut Development participates in many charitable and community efforts in Monterey County and elsewhere. We encourage others to do the same, whether it be with one of those favorite charities to which Tony contributes his time and financial support, or another. Although Tony donates to many small local charities, clubs, and organizations, Click here to learn about a few of Tony’s favorites that he and his wife Tina take great pride in supporting and urge others to do the same.

 Introducing Tony - Bio and History