|By Jenna Martin, The Augusta Chronicle,
Ga.McClatchy-Tribune Regional News
March 13, 2013--A historic Augusta hotel that underwent foreclosure in 2011 is on the market and up for auction in April.
Online bidding for the The Partridge Inn, 2110 Walton Way, is scheduled for April 15-17 on a real estate auction Web site, Auction.com.
The Partridge Inn went through foreclosure after Walton Way Hotel LLC failed to make a monthly payment on its $16 million loan, initially issued in 2006. The hotel, which remained open, was purchased in September 2011 for $14 million by Walton Way Limited Partnership.
Since that time, the hotel has been in transitional limbo, said Partridge Inn General Manager David McCartney.
LNR Partners LLC, based in Miami, was hired to improve the 177-year-old building and its business operations in order to prepare the property for the real estate market, McCartney said.
"The owners' role was to return the hotel to stable operations," said McCartney, whose company, Hostmark Hospitality Group, was hired by LNR Partners for that reason.
About $450,000 was spent on the property for capital improvements since it was acquired in 2011, McCartney said. Roof repairs, exterior painting, guest room furnishings and other renovations were made to the boutique hotel, he said.
The Partridge was originally built in 1836 as a private residence and was converted into a hotel in 1892. The five-story hotel has 144 guest rooms, 5,600 square feet of indoor meeting room and about 3,000 square feet of exterior meeting space. A $5.6 million renovation project was completed in 2006.
The Partridge Inn has a staff of about 75 employees. Events booked in advance won't be affected by the pending sale, McCartney said.
"It's going to be business as usual for the future," he said.
The hotel's market value is almost $12 million, said Monty Levy, the property broker and vice president for Atlanta-based HREC Investment Advisors.
The Partridge Inn is listed on Auction.com with a starting bid of $2.5 million. The hotel's reserve price is undisclosed.
Auctions begin with a low amount to attract more buyers, said Jeff Swick, the customer service representative for Auction.com, which contains listings for residential and commercial properties that often have been in financial distress.
"About 80 percent of properties that are (listed for auction) will get sold," he said.
Selling the property through an online auction, as opposed to more traditional methods, also attracts more interested buyers, Levy said.
"The idea is to expose the property to a large number of prospective buyers," he said.
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