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Baymont hotel looking for new owners

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A local hotel may soon be exchanging hands in an upcoming sheriff sale.

The Baymont Inn and Suites, located on Home Street in Athens and part of the Wyndham Hotel Group, has been under discussion for sale since the summer of 2012. One local development company, Motel Partners, has expressed interest in buying and then renovating the hotel.

Motel Partners, LLC, comprised of a partnership between Thomas W. Parfitt (local CPA) and James Bryant Hayes, took over the mortgage owed by the firm currently in charge of the motel, Athens Investors, LLC. Athens Investors filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection back in June 2010, although the federal judge in charge of the case denied the case, declaring that “a feasible reorganization (of the company) is not likely.”

Chapter 11 provides protection to the debtor by allowing the reorganization of the company, but allowing the owner to remain in control of the company as a “debtor in possession.” As a debtor in possession, Athens Investors would have remained as a trustee to the company.

One of the inn’s lenders filed a foreclosure action in the Athens County Common pleas court in May of 2011 against Athens Investors, with notice to the People’s Bank in Marietta and the Athens County Treasurer.

The company, CB 2010, LLC, came into control of the loan through a series of reassignments. Athens Investors signed a loan with Republic Bank and were loaned $3.6 billion, through signing rents from the hotel to the lending Athens Investors. They then took over the mortgage of the building. Since 2006, when the loan was signed, Republic Bank has merged with Citizens Bank, who then assigned its interest from the agreement to CB 2010.

The foreclosure complaint is quite steep. As of April 25, 2011, the unpaid balance was nearly $3.14 million, with accrued and unpaid interest greater than $256,000 and late fees on top of that. Since then, CB 2010 has asked a judge to grant it $3.4 million, and the court documents have said that Athens Investors has been trying to do that through sale of its interests. Attorney Robert Morje can be quoted in November that Athens Investors “has had the property listed for sale as a going concern well prior to the commencement of this case.” The company was looking for permission to sell the hotel to Ohio corporation Celmark Development Group, Inc., whose office is in Columbus, Ohio.

The motel will be up for sale in the Athens Sheriff sale, provided an appeal put forth by a company with interest in the motel does not stay the auction. Columbus-based Knollman-Wade Holdings, LLC, filed an appeal to overturn the Athens Common Pleas Court decision to allow sale of the motel in the 4th District Court of Appeals. However, if their case does not interject in the first decision, the auction could be held within the next two months.

Motel Partners hopes to purchase the building outright, and then is prepared for renovations. The county has appraised the building at a little under $1.53 million, although the sheriff’s office has said there will be a new appraisal just before the sale.

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