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Beset with Financial Troubles, Two High Profile Albany, New York Hotels
Going Up for Auction - 74 State and the Historic Cambridge Hotel

By Larry Rulison, Times Union, Albany, N.Y.McClatchy-Tribune Regional News

May 24, 2012--CAMBRIDGE -- Two of the region's most high-profile hotels -- 74 State in Albany and the historic Cambridge Hotel in Washington County -- will be sold next month at auction.

Beset by financial troubles for years under different owners, the Cambridge Hotel is scheduled to be auctioned off June 15 at the county courthouse in Fort Edward.

That's despite what appears to have been a successful effort by celebrity chef and reality TV star Gordon Ramsay to improve the property's fortunes.

Also, 74 State -- one of downtown Albany's only "boutique" hotels -- is scheduled to be sold at auction five days later at the Albany County Courthouse.

A legal notice announcing the auction of the Cambridge Hotel says the property is being foreclosed on by Glens Falls National Bank, which is owed nearly $470,000. The hotel remains open. Its restaurant serves dinner Wednesday through Sunday and lunch Friday through Sunday.

Earlier this year, the hotel was visited by Ramsay -- known for bringing restaurant owners and chefs to tears with his loud and foul-mouthed diatribes -- for an episode of his new series "Hotel Hell."

The difference between before and after was stunning, and the hotel enjoyed a surge in attention and business. But the series, originally scheduled for an April debut, has been pushed to an unspecified late-summer start.

This is the third foreclosure and sale of the property in recent years. Built in 1885, when Cambridge was the village at the center of a vibrant agricultural community, the hotel is famed as the home of pie a la mode.

But by the late 1990s, it had become moribund. The then-owner sold all of its assets and closed it down as it fell into foreclosure.

In 1999, about 130 individual investors raised $500,000 to get the hotel up and running again. The investors hoped a buyer would be interested, but none was, and in 2005 the building was foreclosed on again by the Glens Falls National Bank.

In 2007, seven investors led by John Imhof, a Cambridge attorney, bought the property and spent $1 million to refurbish it for a 2008 reopening. Imhof remains the principal owner.

74 State appears to have been caught up in an entirely different mess. The hotel had been capitalized through two investment funds run by the now-defunct Albany investment firm McGinn, Smith & Co. whose principals are facing federal securities fraud charges.

A month before the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission brought a civil lawsuit against McGinn, Smith in early 2010, CIT Lending Services Corp. moved to foreclose on the hotel, claiming it was owed more than $9 million.

The mortgage on the property was later transferred to a related trust that eventually completed the foreclosure process and got court approval for the sale last month.

It is unclear how the sale of the property will affect its operations. The hotel's general manager, Terri DeVoe, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

lrulison@timesunion.com --518-454-5504 --@larryrulison

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(c)2012 Times Union (Albany, N.Y.)

Visit Times Union (Albany, N.Y.) at www.timesunion.com

Distributed by MCT Information Services



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