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Northland Inn, Brooklyn Park,, Minnesota Moves Closer to Foreclosure;
Benchmark Hospitality Appointed Receiver

By Susan Feyder, Star Tribune, MinneapolisMcClatchy-Tribune Regional News

Jul. 29, 2009--The Northland Inn is heading toward foreclosure, and a receiver already has been appointed for the 231-room hotel and conference center in Brooklyn Park.

The all-suite hotel, which has 25 conference rooms, a fitness center and indoor pool, stopped making mortgage payments late last year, according to Christopher Hayhoe, a Minneapolis attorney who represents owner Parkland Hotel Investors. Parkland's president, James Stuebener, developed the hotel in the 1980s and could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

Hayhoe said Benchmark Hospitality International, a Texas-based company that has managed the hotel for several years, was appointed receiver earlier this month. He said he expects foreclosure proceedings by the lender to begin soon. Column Financial, a former subsidiary of Credit Suisse, is the mortgage holder, Hayhoe said.

Hayhoe said that like many hotels, the Northland Inn suffered in the post-9/11 travel downturn but had begun to rebuild its business. That changed last year when the recession put a lid on travel in the Twin Cities area and nationwide. The area's average hotel occupancy rate this year through the end of May was 51.5 percent, the lowest in several years, according to Smith Travel Research. Hayhoe said he didn't have occupancy figures for the Northland Inn but said business had been down except for a burst of activity during last fall's Republican National Convention.

Parkland tried to sell the hotel and conference center several months ago but found potential buyers either were unable to arrange financing or were scared off by the generally depressed travel market, Hayhoe said.

The hotel and conference center is the second Brooklyn Park property owned by Stuebner to run into financial difficulties in the last couple of years. Earlier this year, the Northland Corporate Center, an office property that was taken back by lenders in 2008, was sold through a sealed-bid sale similar to an auction for about $1.3 million, far below its most recent value for tax purposes of $8.7 million.

Susan Feyder --612-673-1723


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