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Judge Halts Foreclosure Auction of Sheraton Fort Worth Hotel in Texas Giving
the New Owner, Vestin Originations of Las Vegas, Time to Find Financing

By Sandra Baker, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, TexasMcClatchy-Tribune Regional News

March 06, 2012--FORT WORTH -- A state district judge has temporarily stopped today's scheduled foreclosure auction of the Sheraton Fort Worth Hotel to give the new owner time to find financing and work out other issues.

Vestin Originations of Las Vegas, which gained control last month after Presidio Hotel Group defaulted on a loan, was granted a temporary restraining order late Friday that prevents Dougherty Funding from foreclosing. Minneapolis-based Dougherty posted the property for foreclosure Feb. 9, saying Presidio defaulted on a $40 million loan from 2007.

In 2008, Presidio borrowed $11.8 million from Vestin, court records show.

The two lenders operated under an intercreditor agreement that protected lien positions that made Dougherty senior lender and Vestin junior lender on the property, according to court filings.

But on Feb. 7, Presidio, which bought the hotel in 2006, deeded the property to Vestin in lieu of foreclosure, court records show.

Vestin maintains that under the terms of its agreement, Dougherty is barred from foreclosing for 120 days, a period that continues until June 6.

Allowing Dougherty to foreclose would negate work that Vestin said it has done to seek refinancing to pay Dougherty and would wipe out its equity in the property, court filings said.

The hotel property is appraised at $65.6 million, court filings show.

In addition, Vestin said it now holds the franchise license on Shula's 347 Grill, a restaurant at the hotel, and is working with Sheraton Corp. for a licensing agreement for the hotel's operation. It has also hired Prism Hotels & Resorts, a Dallas-based hotel management and receivership company, as a consultant, Vestin said in court filings.

Presidio spent more than $48 million renovating the hotel's 429 rooms and adding 22,000 square feet of meeting space and an 8,000-square-foot fitness center and spa.

The hotel was built in 1974 as a Hilton Inn and expanded in 1980 with the second tower.

Puson Gch. of Indonesia bought it in 1991 and operated the property as a Ramada until 2004, when it was renamed the Fort Worth Plaza Hotel. It is across from the Fort Worth Convention Center and the Fort Worth Water Gardens on the south end of downtown.

Sandra Baker, 817-390-7727


(c)2012 the Fort Worth Star-Telegram

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