|By Nick Penzenstadler, The Post-Crescent,
Appleton, Wis.McClatchy-Tribune Regional News
June 27, 2012--APPLETON -- Transferring management of the Radisson Paper Valley hotel should be completed within the next two weeks, an Outagamie County judge said at a hearing Tuesday.
But several details still need to be ironed out, including the transfer of the hotel's liquor license and several million dollars in memorabilia inside Vince Lombardi's Steakhouse.
The hotel's owners have until July 10 to finalize a transition plan. At that time, Judge Greg Gill Jr. will appoint a receiver to oversee the property.
The transition plan calls for the Illinois-based Hostmark Hospitality Group to take over management of the hotel, along with the Holiday Inn Neenah Riverwalk.
Earlier this month, owners of the hotel announced they defaulted on a $27 million balloon mortgage payment, forcing the hotel into the receivership.
"We're trying to make it as seamless as possible, especially with July being our busiest month due to EAA and weddings," said Jay Schumerth, general manager of the Paper Valley.
Hostmark spent the last two weeks analyzing the properties and their financials, said Peter Connolly, executive vice president of operations and development. The company will retain all 365 employees from the two hotels.
"Our goal is for everything to remain status quo," Connolly said. "We've already spoken with vendors and are working to iron out some details with the (Vince) Lombardi's Steakhouse."
The steakhouse provides an interesting detail to the transfer. New agreements will be needed with the Lombardi family for the transfer of the memorabilia housed inside the hotel restaurant.
Connolly said his company's main concern is to provide answers to the uncertain future of the hotel in the short term.
"We are focused on 'what will the mother of the bride think?' and will make sure this summer's weddings run smoothly with the staff in place," Connolly said.
Meanwhile, a newly formed limited liability corporation made up of Fox Valley investors remains interested in purchasing the hotel to keep its ownership in Wisconsin.
Preston O'Connor, a spokesman for the group, was at Tuesday's court hearing and provided some guidance for the "PVH Continuation group," short for Paper Valley Hotel.
"We believe the next step is to organize an offer to purchase," said O'Connor, who added that the group is eager to begin work with the investment company that owns the hotel based in Florida to organize a deal. "We want to understand the health of the business and overlay the strategic plans of the community."
The Paper Valley is at the heart of a proposed $25 million exhibition center funded with public and private funds.
-- Nick Penzenstadler: 920-996-7226, or email@example.com; on Twitter @npenzenstadler
(c)2012 The Post-Crescent (Appleton, Wis.)
Visit The Post-Crescent (Appleton, Wis.) at www.postcrescent.com
Distributed by MCT Information Services