“In this particular case it’s already been tried, and the seller said no,” said Lee Hunter, the chief operating officer of Hunter Hotel Advisors.
The Walton Way hotel had been set to go to bidders on Auction.com this Monday, but the seller, Miami-based LNR Partners LLC, pushed back the auction date to June 16-18 for unknown reasons. The opening bid amount remains at $2 million.
The Augusta landmark, which dates to the 1830s, was listed on the online real estate auction site in April 2013 but was pulled days before bidding started.
Hunter, who was not involved with the 2013 listing, said he could only speculate that in both instances the decision was based on corporate strategy and in no way reflects the amount of interest in the property. He said his client has informed him that the June auction date will stick.
“There are groups from literally all over the country that are interested,” said Hunter, naming Augusta, Atlanta, Seattle, Los Angeles, Chicago, New York City and Miami as cities from where groups have contacted him.
Hunter Hotel Advisors was formed in 1978 and provides brokerage and advisory services to the hotel industry. Hunter is working for LNR Partners, a commercial mortgage special servicer brought in to return the hotel to a stable footing and prepare the property for the real estate market after it was foreclosed on in 2011.
The hotel generated more than $3.9 million in total revenue last year, according to its listings with Auction.com and LNR Partners.
The five-story boutique hotel includes 144 guest rooms and suites, 10,000 square feet of meeting and event space, a courtyard pool, and the Partridge Inn Bar and Grill. The 1.3-acre property has a market value of just below $12 million, according to city records.
“I would be shocked if it didn’t stay a hotel,” Hunter said. “If someone were to acquire it and convert it to some other use, it would be somebody that I’ve not talked to. There is a lot of brand-equity built up in the Partridge Inn name, and in my opinion, this is an absolute fantastic opportunity for a new owner to come in with some fresh equity and renovate the property.”
The property has been in transitional limbo since the 2011 foreclosure.
Walton Way Hotel LLC, an Atlanta-based investment company, purchased the hotel in 2005 for $8.1 million, spent millions more in renovations and defaulted on a $16 million loan in July 2011. Walton Way Limited Partnership, the original lender and shell company for the group that owned Walton Way Hotel LLC, purchased the property in the foreclosure sale later that year.
Tijuana Jenkins, the hotel’s director of sales, said last month that LNR Partners’ role in the property, which included small capital improvements, is complete.
The pending sale will not affect business operations there, she said.