Share this article

print logo

Lender buys Crowne Plaza in auction

The 391-room Crowne Plaza Hotel at 300 Third St. -- which had fallen behind on payments of its taxes, mortgage and other debts -- was reclaimed Tuesday by its mortgage lender, Gramercy Investment Trust of New York.

The hotel, in which the state invested $6 million about four years ago, has been under the control of a court-appointed receiver while it was in foreclosure. But it has remained in business, and Tuesday's foreclosure sale is not expected to have any immediate effect on its operations.

Gramercy Trust purchased the hotel for a reported $21 million at the foreclosure auction in City Hall. The lender had started foreclosure proceedings last March on its $30 million mortgage.

The hotel, which is near Niagara Falls State Park and across Third Street from the Seneca Niagara Casino & Hotel, underwent a $21 million public-private renovation in 2006 and 2007. Its owner, NS Partners, bought the property for $14.5 million and updated it from a Holiday Inn Select. A sports bar and grill were added at that time.

Empire State Development Corp., the state's economic development agency in the Falls, contributed a $6 million grant for the renovation.

The foreclosure proceeding began just a few months after Namwest, one of the two partners that owns NS Partners, filed for financial reorganization under Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Law. NS Partners, a partnership between Namwest and Sentry Hospitality, was not included in Namwest's bankruptcy filing.

Namwest, a Phoenix-based developer, has focused on condominiums and other properties in Arizona.

Since the Crowne Plaza was not included in Namwest's bankruptcy filing, Sentry Hospitality continued to manage the hotel during its own foreclosure proceeding.

Mayor Paul A. Dyster said the city had no immediate role in the foreclosure auction.

"The city's interest is in seeing the continued operation of what we believe is a profitable enterprise," Dyster said.

Despite the delinquency in paying some of its bills, a spokesman said the hotel remained financially viable and predicted that it would remain in operation indefinitely.

e-mail: rbaldwin@buffnews.com

There are no comments - be the first to comment