A New York-based investment company and a Natchitoches-based hotel management firm have purchased the Baton Rouge Marriott for $21.8 million and plan to make extensive renovations to the hotel.
Allan V. Rose, owner and CEO of AVR Realty Co. in Yonkers, New York, and Dimension Development Co. bought the 299-room hotel in a deal that was filed Thursday with the East Baton Rouge Parish Clerk of Court’s Office. The seller was CCMS 2005-CD 1 Lodging, a pool of commercial mortgage loans, which repossessed the hotel at 5500 Hilton Ave. in September 2013 for court costs of little more than $2,200.
According to the sales documents, Rose will have a 74 percent stake in the hotel, while Dimension will own 26 percent.
Shirley Walker, senior vice president of purchasing, design and the construction group for Dimension, said the hotel will remain a Marriott. The property will undergo a “massive full-service renovation” that is scheduled to begin in December and should be completed in early 2017.
“We estimate it will take about 14 months to a year and a half,” Walker said.
Plans for the renovation are in the early stages, and there is no budget for the project yet. Walker said the plan is to expand the guest bathrooms in the hotel and take in the balconies to give more space to the hotel rooms. “That will give a more updated look,” she said. All of the rooms will be gutted and renovated.
“We’re excited to do this project,” Walker said. Dimension already has taken over management of the hotel.
Dimension operates 48 hotels in 11 states, under brands such as Hilton, DoubleTree, Marriott and Holiday Inn & Suites. Its Louisiana portfolio is made up of the Springhill Suites Baton Rouge on Howell Boulevard, the Homewood Suites New Orleans in the Central Business District, the Homewood Suites Lafayette on Kaliste Saloom, a Homewood Suites in Shreveport and a Courtyard by Marriott and a Homewood Suites in Bossier City. Dimension and Rose also own The Roosevelt Hotel in New Orleans, but that property is managed by Hilton.
CCMS had seized the hotel in July 2013 from Columbia Properties Baton Rouge Ltd. At the time, it said Columbia owed $32.8 million on a $36.5 million promissory note signed in 2005. The interest and other fees owed to CCMS brought the total debt to close to $39 million.
The hotel, which is just off Interstate 10 near College Drive and Corporate Boulevard, has been in business since 1976, first as a Hilton. The hotel switched flags in 2000, becoming a Marriott after Columbia bought the property.
Jon Fels, a Baton Rouge hotel owner and consultant, said the sale price for the Marriott was fair.
“No other Baton Rouge hotel has that kind of presence in the marketplace,” Fels said, noting how prominent the high-rise tower is from I-10.
Fels has a history with the hotel; he served as manager of the property for about five years, starting in 1978. Coincidentally, Fels said he came in after the hotel ended up in financial trouble and new owners were brought in. “During my time managing that hotel, it had 4-star ratings,” he said. Everything is in place for the Marriott to get those kinds of accolades under the new owners, Fels said.
“The right management and quality of a property can make a difference,” he said.
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