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Fate of Stalled Renaissance Hotel In Colorado Springs, Colorado
Could be Decided Following Foreclosure Auction

By Rich Laden, The Gazette, Colorado Springs, Colo.McClatchy-Tribune Regional News

Oct. 19, 2011--The fate of the shuttered, partially completed Renaissance Hotel on Colorado Springs' far north side could be decided Thursday when a foreclosure auction takes place on the property.

Construction on the 11-story, 300-room hotel, east of Interstate 25 and InterQuest Parkway, was halted two years ago by John Q. Hammons Hotels & Resorts of Missouri, and the high-profile property has sat idle since then.

Tulsa, Okla.,-based Flintco Inc., the project's general contractor, filed a multi-million-dollar legal claim against Hammons after it didn't get paid; in June of this year, a 4th Judicial District judge ordered that the hotel be sold to satisfy the debt.

Flintco has submitted a bid of $28.8 million to the El Paso County Sheriff's Office, which will conduct the auction at 10 a.m. at its Metro Detention Facility, 210 S. Tejon St., Sgt. Tim Raffety of the sheriff's civil section said Wednesday. Court records in June showed Flintco was owed $29.4 million for its work on the project, with interest, through April 30.

One other unidentified potential bidder has inquired about the hotel sale, but can't legally submit a bid until the auction begins, Raffety said.

After the auction, the winning bidder will be issued a certificate of purchase, Raffety said. An eight-day redemption period then takes place, during which lien holders can come forward if they feel they're owed money related to the hotel project, he said.

Assuming nobody comes forward, or if the lien holders are satisfied, the holder of the certificate of purchase will be issued the deed on the property, Raffety said.

The redemption period might be moot, however.

Flintco spokeswoman Dana Birkes said Wednesday the company has paid its subcontractors and suppliers on the project. Assuming Flintco successfully acquires the hotel, the company intends to sell the property to someone who would complete it, she said. Flintco already has hired a brokerage to market the hotel, Birkes added.

The hotel was being built as part of the 138-acre InterQuest Marketplace retail development.

When he proposed the hotel several years ago, developer John Q. Hammons envisioned it as a top-flight property to serve business people and leisure travelers in a location that boasted easy access from I-25, proximity to the Air Force Academy and terrific mountain views. Among its amenities, the hotel was being developed with 50,000 square feet of meeting space.

But after construction began in April 2008, work stopped 1½ years later. Hammons, who had developed more than 200 hotels over a 50-year career, told The Gazette in April 2010 he had spent $47 million of his own money on the project, and, at that time, had secured financing to complete the project.

Work never resumed, however. Later in 2010, Hammons, now 92, entered a nursing home in Missouri and a controversial management shake-up took place at his company, which he no longer heads.

In June, Justin Harris, a senior vice president and general counsel for John Q. Hammons Hotels & Resorts, said the economic downturn was the primary reason for the company's failure to complete the project, despite Hammons' comments last year that he had acquired financing to finish it.

Harris said his company and Flintco had agreed to allow the foreclosure sale to take place. Hammons had no plans to bid on the project, marking possibly the only time in the company's 50-year history that it had walked away from a hotel project, Harris said.

The hotel is about two-thirds to 70 percent complete, but lacks major mechanical and electrical systems, furniture and fixtures, Harris said.


Contact Rich Laden: 636-0228 Twitter @richladen

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(c)2011 The Gazette (Colorado Springs, Colo.)

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