|By Greg Stiles, Mail Tribune, Medford,
Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News
May 12, 2006 - The Reston Hotel's new owners say it's no secret the Reston Hotel is due for a fix up.
The 38-year-old hotel and convention center remains the largest meeting place among Medford's hospitality locations, but wear and tear have tarnished its image.
A half-million renovation is now in the works at the 2250 Biddle Road property, according to the hotel's new owners who completed a $5.25 million deal Wednesday and took over management Thursday.
Hina Hospitalities LLC of Yreka, Calif., acquired the 165-room hotel and its 10,000-square-foot convention center from Kent, Wash.-based Royal Hospitalities Inc. and will reflag the property as a Ramada Inn and Convention Center this summer.
"We know the property needs some upgrades, renovations and improvements to bring it up to standards that are normal nowadays," says new general manager Ben Patel. "Under the circumstances, the previous owners didn't have the financing to run the property."
"People expect refrigerators in the rooms and TV's larger than 19 inches," Patel said. "We're basically starting from scratch. We're not removing everything from the hotel, but adding things to it, including wireless Internet."
Adjoining restaurant and bar facilities occupied by Hungry Woodsman and Buzz Saw Saloon will continue operations, while all 25 employees will remain on staff for the time being.
"We'll add if we need to or drop if we need to," Patel said.
Hina Hospitalities LLC's principals are Dinesh "Dennis" Patel, Pradip "Pete" Patel and Hasmukhbhai "Harry" Patel. Ben and Pete are Dennis' sons, and Harry is Pete's father-in-law. Harry Patel is a shopping center, apartment and real estate developer who has divided his time between Yreka and India.
Dinesh Patel has operated motels and hotels for 15 years, while Pete Patel sold the Relax Inn on Cloverdale Lane in Ashland for $527,061 in February.
Medford Visitors and Convention Bureau Senior Vice President Anne Jenkins said the change in ownership will rejuvenate the location.
"With the way the road changed there and all the construction, the hotel has definitely had its challenges," Jenkins said. "It will be exciting to have something new in town."
The Reston property first opened in 1968 and operated as a Holiday Inn until it was sold for $3.1 million in 1984 when it became Nendels. Sterling Hotels Corp. bought the property in 1992 returning it to the Holiday Inn flag. Then in February of 1996, Sterling changed the name to Reston Hotel and Convention Center. Sterling Corp., sold the property for $2 million to S K Hotel Investments, owned by Seattle businessman Alex Kim, in April 1999.
Royal Hospitalities Inc., owners Tae and Su Han, bought the property in November 2000 for $3.5 million. Royal Hospitalities, however, didn't have the resources to remodel the aging hotel.
Coldwell Banker Commercial broker Sam Fung, who represented both buyer and seller, said it was a Catch-22 scenario where a remodel was needed, but the finances weren't there, so business suffered.
The Hans' daughter, Jackie Vollmer, said Thursday that the hotel struggled after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, but slowly gained ground thereafter. The owners began shopping the hotel in early 2005.
"We had several offers," Vollmer said. "But this is the one that stuck; we knew they were pretty serious."
"We started looking at the property last May," Ben Patel said. "We liked the site and the location."
Fung said the deal was particularly tough to put together because the sellers didn't want to publicize their intentions but sought out high-profile hotel operators from Canyonville and Ashland. Those efforts, he said, merely produced low-ball offers.
But Fung was impressed how Hina Hospitalities had remodeled a Super 8 motel in Yreka to a like-new condition, including in-room safes, so he pursued its owners. Although no local financing was available, an out-of-state lender was eventually found, provided Hina Hospitalities reflagged as a franchise hotel.
Eric Artner Construction of Central Point will handle the exterior facade and remodel work, starting May 22.
"We have several things we need to do on Ramada's punch list," Ben Patel said. "Once that's done, we'll be able to put up the Ramada sign in July or August. If they have faith in us, we may be able to put the sign up in the next month or so."
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