$6 million changes planned for historic Partridge Inn in Augusta

The $4.25 million sale of the boutique hotel at 2110 Walton Way became official following a two-day online auction in June.



The historic Partridge Inn is on the cusp of a $6 million facelift and possible fusion with a major international hotel brand.

The $4.25 million sale of the boutique hotel at 2110 Walton Way became official Monday after a two-day online auction in June.

Partridge Inn Holdings LLC is the new ownership group and is headed by hotel developer Rick Patton, who owned The Partridge Inn in 2005 before it went through foreclosure six years later. Patton also is a partner in NorthPointe Hospitality Management LLC, which has taken over management of the property.

The first phase of renovations will begin immediately and focus on sealing the entire building and remodeling the kitchen, dining area and bar. The P.I. Bar and Grill will operate temporarily on a new schedule, open only for breakfast, dinner and Sunday brunch, said interim general manager Jason Smith, who has been brought in for the ownership transition.

The property’s 144 guest rooms also will get new furniture, carpet and furnishings, and the bathrooms could be overhauled.

About 10,000 square feet in meeting and event space, which was part of a $5.6 million renovation project in 2006, will get minor updates. Other work will include improvements to the outdoor pool and courtyard, landscaping and facade.

“I believe there’s going to be a color change,” Smith said of the building’s exterior. “It probably won’t be anything substantial, because it’s had this look for a long time. There’s such history and tradition here. We want to embrace that.”

The bulk of construction will take place from mid-November to mid-February and could lead to the restaurant briefly closing. Smith expects to add at least 25 employees to the current staff of 60 when the renovation project concludes in time for the 2015 Masters Tournament.

“We really hope that this $6 million – aside from some of the roof work that’s required, sealing the building and the kitchen – that the majority of this is going to be very visual to the guests and public who come in for meals and events,” he said.

The restoration is needed to elevate the hotel’s AAA rating from three to four diamonds, which Smith said would allow the owners to pursue affiliation with a brand such as Marriott or Hilton. In doing so, The Partridge Inn could see better marketing and lower operating inventory costs that aren’t available to independent hotels, he said.

“We hope that the investment in the physical product and the possible brand affiliation will enable us to increase our occupancy and the amount of traffic in the restaurant and bar,” he said.

Originally built as a personal home in 1836, the property was converted into The Partridge Inn in 1910. Before the most recent acquisition, the property saw years of financial uncertainty.

Walton Way Hotel LLC, of which Patton was a member, purchased the hotel for $8.1 million in 2005 and completed a multimillion-dollar renovation. However, the entity defaulted on a $16 million loan in 2011. The original lender and shell company for the group that owned Walton Way Hotel LLC purchased the property in a foreclosure sale later that year.

Commercial mortgage special servicer LNR Partners LLC, based in Miami, was brought in after the 2011 foreclosure to return the hotel to a stable footing and prepare the property for the real estate market.

Having been a previous owner, Patton is familiar with the nuances, potential and age-related issues of the property.

Patton, who was unavailable for comment Tuesday, has developed more than 20 hotels in his career, including projects for Hilton, Marriott and InterContinental Hotels Group. His Holiday Inn Resort will open on Jekyll Island later this year.

NorthPointe Hospitality, which manages accounting, food and beverage, staffing and other operations for hotels, handles Patton’s soon-to-open Holiday Inn Resort and his Hilton Garden Inn in Albany, Ga.

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