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The 297 room Ramada Plaza in Downtown Macon, Georgia to be
 Sold Under Foreclosure; Hotel Built in 1970 as the Macon Hilton

By Linda S. Morris, The Macon Telegraph, Ga.McClatchy-Tribune Regional News

May 19, 2009 - The Ramada Plaza, Macon's only major downtown hotel for 39 years, is under foreclosure and up for sale.

The hotel, which also goes under the legal name Portfolio-Macon LLC, is one of 11 hotels owned by Atlanta-based Kronos Hotel & Resorts listed as collateral for a $48.5 million loan that's now in default.

The property is set to be sold on the Bibb County courthouse steps June 2. Foreclosure means the deed goes from the previous owner to the lender, assuming no one buys it at the courthouse sale.

The value of the Ramada Plaza, with 297 rooms, is $5.43 million, according to court documents. The value of all 11 hotels is listed as $73 million.

Kyle Green, of Hospitality Receiver LLC, doing business as Prism Hotels and Resorts of Dallas, Texas, was appointed last fall by court order as receiver -- or manager -- of the hotel.

"Business is getting better," Green said. "We established the liquor license again which took several months, and we're getting business back in the hotel. We are booking some groups. Some things are going in the right direction. ... It is our job to turn it around and help the lender go through foreclosure and ultimately sell the hotel."

Green didn't know when the hotel lost its liquor license, but it didn't have the license when the receiver took over management in November.

The hotel, at 108 First St., faced several issues before the receiver was appointed. At one point the water was shut off temporarily and employees reportedly were not paid or not paid promptly.

"Once the receiver came, all those past payroll issues were rectified, and we're just doing the best we can to mend the relationships that were kind of damaged," Green said.

About 50 people work at the hotel, he said.

According to a complaint filed in the Superior Court of Bibb County in November, Portfolio-Macon "has failed to pay certain vendors, thereby allowing liens to be placed against the property." All American Laundry filed a lien for $3,602, and taxes are due on the property, according to the complaint.

Bibb County Tax Commissioner Tommy Tedders said the real estate taxes on the hotel property are current, but a lien for personal property taxes has been filed for $40,222.27 for 2007 and 2008, he said.

It could not be determined late Monday if the hotel owner owed hotel/motel taxes or state taxes on the property.

"The overall economy has hurt Kronos and the properties it owns," said Matt Wilkins, a partner with Atlanta-based King & Yaklin LLP law firm, which represents Kronos Hotels and Resorts.

But his clients haven't had any dealings with the Macon hotel, he said.

"Due to the economy, there are financing issues with the lender, but it is fully expected that the hotel will continue to operate. ... What will likely happen is the receiver will continue to manage the property."

After the foreclosure proceedings are completed, "ultimately (the 11 hotels) will be sold individually," Green said. None of the other hotels under this foreclosure are in Georgia.

The hotel has gone through several name changes and ownership changes since it was built in 1970.

When the hotel was renamed Ramada Plaza on Nov. 1, 2007, it was the fifth name for the 16-story hotel since it was built in 1970. Prior to becoming a Ramada Plaza, the hotel held the name Crowne Plaza for 10 years. Originally, it was a Hilton from 1970 until 1991, and was the Macon Downtown Hotel until 1993. From 1993 until 1996, it was a Radisson hotel.

Information from The Telegraph archives was used in this report.

To contact writer Linda S. Morris, call 744-4223.

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To see more of The Macon Telegraph, or to subscribe to the newspaper, go to http://www.macon.com

Copyright (c) 2009, The Macon Telegraph, Ga.

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