|By Nikie Mayo, Sun Journal, New Bern,
N.C.McClatchy-Tribune Regional News
Jun. 2, 2009--Facing more than $2 million in debt, the local owners of the Days Hotel in Five Points have filed bankruptcy, and the motel is closed by order of the court.
The former Days Inn is the only hotel of its size in Five Points, and was to be an anchor business in the long-term plan to revitalize the New Bern neighborhood. The neighborhood begins at the intersections of Broad, Queen and Roundtree streets and includes the city's public housing.
Now, it's unclear what will happen to the building that was to be a hub of the neighborhood. The only thing certain is that the property will be offered for sale in a public auction some time in the next 60 days.
The hotel owners, Connecticut Avenue Partners LLC, first filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy about two years ago, according to John Bircher, the New Bern attorney who is handling the closure and sale of the property. Chapter 11 bankruptcy allowed the company to reorganize itself and work out a plan to repay its lenders and creditors while staying open.
The company, however, was unable to meet its financial obligations under that plan, so it had to file Chapter 7 bankruptcy, which forces a corporation to close.
Within the past year, the hotel had major interior renovations, including restaurant, lobby and guestroom upgrades.
"It's unfortunate, because they had done a lot of work," Bircher said Monday.
Mary Peterkin, the president of the Uptown Business and Professional Association, said she had hoped the hotel, in combination with a tour that explains the effect of the city's Fire of 1922, would boost tourism to Five Points.
"It's just sad that they could not hold on and somehow work with our Trail of Tears tour," she said.
Fletcher Watts, a local businessman, said he hopes the city will buy the building and use it for administrative offices.
"In a lot of ways, the hotel was only destination that passersby in Five Points were familiar with," Watts said. "We've got to have something in that space that will consistently draw people to Five Points."
John Bradley, the manager of the hotel and one of the partners in the corporation, could not be reached. But Bradley has long called for incentives for managers willing to open businesses in Five Points.
"Other cities do that and it's one of the areas where we are really failing," he said during a Five Points revitalization meeting last year. "Who knows what it might cost us?"
Nikie Mayo can be reached at (252) 635-5665 or email@example.com.
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