|By Bill Jackson, Greeley Tribune,
Colo.McClatchy-Tribune Business News
Aug. 9, 2006 - A downtown Greeley hotel is back in the hands of an owner who gave it up for lease more than three years ago and now promises to put a shine on its tarnished reputation.
Arthur Cormier earlier this summer took the Best Western Regency, 701 8th St., back by force, when Paul Patel and P&S Hotels ran out his lease with Cormier. Patel has contested, denying he was in default, but Weld District Court Judge Roger Klein has said his efforts may not be worth it.
Cormier bought what was then the Best Western Ramkota Inn in July 2001 for $4.5 million from a South Dakota chain. Two years later, he signed a three-year contract with Patel's company, P&S Hotels, to operate the Best Western Regency.
In the documents, Art Cormier stated that Patel shorted him $400 a month for three years and deducted from the lease a $91,200 payment assessed by the Downtown Development Authority, which is part of a city of Greeley-approved package of special district improvement funds.
The hotel's General Manager, Stan Snow, said Cormier also has paid $80,000 in back property taxes left by Patel.
Patel and his Greeley attorney, Michael Dugan, have declined comment. But in counter motions filed with the court, Dugan denied that Patel owed Cormier any money and that Patel had breached any terms of the management agreement, which Cormier had claimed.
When Klein issued a court order appointing Cormier as receiver of the hotel, Patel had to be escorted from the property by police.
The 148-room hotel is the only full-service hotel in Greeley and as such is the only one that can handle large conventions.
Snow said Cormier has put roughly $225,000 into the property to bring it back to life, and it already is starting to see increased revenues.
"Because of some of the things we've implemented, we've seen a revenue gain over the last year, believe it or not," Snow said. "We exceeded last year in July, and so far for August, we're about 9 percent higher than last year."
Snow attributes some of that to the hotel taking overflow from Cheyenne Frontier Days festival.
"Hotels in Cheyenne were kind enough to refer their overflow, so we really capitalized on that," Snow said.
Snow said they have put in $4,000 worth of new air conditioners in rooms, installed a state-of-the art laundry, fixed many maintenance problems, resodded the grass, and have on order $3,000 worth of uniforms for hotel staff, which will undergo more customer service training.
Snow said he knows reviving the hotel will be a challenge, and there is still work to be done to improve its reputation.
"We feel strongly that we can, through marketing efforts and placement in some online booking engines, that we will definitely increase our selling efforts here," Snow said.
Sharon Dunn contributed to this report.
Copyright (c) 2006, Greeley Tribune, Colo.
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