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Weeks After Rebranding as Country Hearth Inn & Suites,
Midtown Memphis Hotel to Close Due to Pending Bankruptcy Issues

By Wayne Risher, The Commercial Appeal, Memphis, Tenn.McClatchy-Tribune Regional News

Aug. 03, 2010--A Las Vegas ownership group is pulling the plug Wednesday on the latest hotel at Union and McLean, just weeks after converting to a Country Hearth Inn & Suites.

"We're just shutting down the operation for now," because of issues tied to a pending bankruptcy, said Joseph Saddi, an owner of the hotel in the Towery Building, on Monday.

The hotel contacted people holding room reservations for this fall to advise it wouldn't be open to accommodate them.

Asked if it was closing, Saddi said, "That's correct. It's in Chapter 11 (bankruptcy). I think we're going to convert to Chapter 7. That's all I can tell you."

Saddi informed Pride Hospitality, the hotel's Memphis-based management company, of the closing Monday. The hotel has six employees.

"We took over when it was in Chapter 11, so this really is no surprise to us," said Mark Zipperer, Pride president, adding that the owners and management company were trying to make it profitable in a challenging economy.

A Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing aims to restructure while a business continues to operate. A Chapter 7, also known as a liquidation or straight bankruptcy, calls for certain assets to be sold to satisfy the filer's creditors.

The hotel, originally opened as a Holiday Inn in 1968, underwent a transformation from the Artisan Hotel to Country Hearth Inn & Suites this spring. Owners renovated 76 rooms on three of the building's eight floors, public areas and a space for a Mexican restaurant adjoining the lobby. Pride Hospitality came on board in January to assist in marketing the property and managing employees.

Saddi's group bought the hotel in 2006. It was an America's Best Inn & Suites before it became the Artisan, an attempt at a cosmopolitan, boutique hotel.

Country Hearth is part of Atlanta-based America's Best Franchising Inc.'s portfolio of hotel brands, which includes America's Best Inn & Suites, Budgetel and Vagabond Inn.

-- Wayne Risher: 529-2874


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