The 120-room Quality Suites Hotel at 9138 Bluebonnet Centre Blvd., near Interstate 10, has been acquired by Wampold Companies for $2.3 million, the company reported Tuesday.
The hotel, which was built in 1986, is on about three acres.
“The opportunity on the Quality Suites was the price. I mean the price was very attractive,” said Mike Wampold, chief executive officer of Wampold Companies.
The reason? Lender 9138 Bluebonnet Centre Boulevard Holding LLC foreclosed on it in April 2010.
In a lawsuit in 19th Judicial District Court in 2009, Bluebonnet Centre claimed Blue Bonnet QS Hotel LLC owed $5.9 million on the property and hadn’t made payments in seven months.
Bluebonnet Centre was the high bidder at the Sheriff’s Office auction of the hotel, with a bid of $2.7 million. At the time, hotel consultant Jon Fels said the property and its ongoing operations appraised for around $8 million.
Wampold said the Quality Suite’s location, just north of Interstate 10 on Bluebonnet, also made the property very attractive despite the deterioration that took place under the former ownership.
“It will require substantial rehab. Probably, we’ll put as much into the hotel as we paid for it, if not more,” Wampold said.
The renovations will include redesigning guestrooms and interior spaces, with new furniture, fixtures and equipment, and replacing the roofing, mechanical and elevator systems.
Work will begin in 30 days and should be completed by first-quarter 2012, Wampold said.
“If we end up with a brand-new type product for $40,000 to $45,000 per room, we’ll have gotten a good deal there, hit a home run, whatever,” Wampold said.
Wampold is also the developer and owner of the new 256-room Renaissance Baton Rouge Hotel, also located on Bluebonnet Boulevard within a mile of the Quality Suites.
It was almost a natural to acquire the Quality Suites, Wam-pold said. The hotel broadens Wampold Companies’ market somewhat and will provide certain economies and efficiencies in operations and marketing.
Wampold said he got into the hotel business as a partner — not the lead developer or the managing partner — in the Astor Hotel in New Orleans.
He sold his piece of that hotel a few months before Hurricane Katrina hit, he said.
“I got a little taste of the hotel business. It’s kind of interesting. Now you might want to talk to me a year from now, and I might not be saying the same thing,” he joked.
Wampold said he has been tracking the Baton Rouge hotel market for the past four years, and, the local market has suffered, as has all markets.
But the industry began coming back in 2009 and 2010 and is continuing to recover this year, Wampold said. And next year’s Bowling Congress will help.