|By Matt Glynn, The Buffalo News,
N.Y.McClatchy-Tribune Regional News
Sept. 19, 2012--The Holiday Inn Grand Island will get another shot at finding a new owner.
The 263-room hotel will be auctioned at 11 a.m. Oct. 24, according to Amherst-based Blackbird Asset Services. Blackbird is working with AmeriBid LLC, an Oklahoma-based firm.
The hotel, which sits on 12 acres along the Niagara River, continues to operate as usual. David Fiegel, Blackbird's president, said that events booked for the hotel, such as receptions and banquets, will go on as planned, regardless of whether there is a change in ownership. "We're selling it as a going concern in place," he said.
The Whitehaven Road hotel was the subject of a foreclosure sale in February 2011, but the lone bidder was its mortgageholder, the Royal Bank of Canada. The bank entered the minimum required bid of $500,000, which was essentially a paper transaction because the bank was owed nearly $8 million.
Fiegel said that $8 million amount is no longer an obstacle to a sale. "The bank has written it down. The past debt was cleansed by the foreclosure," he said.
The hotel opened about 40 years ago. American Hospitality Partners bought it from Lodgian in 2004.
The auction's organizers say the property is not in distress. Blackbird says the hotel's monthly occupancy rate is often above 85 percent. And Stephen Karbelk, AmeriBid's co-chairman, called the auction "an awesome opportunity for an investor to pick up a full-service hotel that's running really well."
The bank has poured nearly $1 million in capital improvements into the hotel in the past year, including room upgrades, and brought in a professional management company, Fiegel said.
Blackbird said the hotel's total revenues are expected to surpass $4.9 million by year's end.
For the auction, each bidder will have to post a $100,000 cashier's check or certified check -- made payable to themselves -- in order to register. The winning bidder will be required to increase the deposit to 10 percent of the purchase price by Oct. 26, with the transaction closing due to be completed by Dec. 7.
Inspections of the property will be offered Oct. 3, 11 and 24, as well as by appointment.
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