|By Steve Wartenberg, The Columbus
Dispatch, OhioMcClatchy-Tribune Regional News
March 22, 2013--A pair of Port Columbus-area hotels sought by multiple suitors will be sold to a Dallas-based company for $16.6 million.
Common Pleas Judge Richard Frye ruled this week that Realty Capital Partners may purchase the Hilton Garden Inn and Hampton Inn hotels. The alternative would have been to hold an auction among the three companies interested in them.
"We're very excited to move forward with the purchase process," said Blake Lugash, president of Realty Capital. "We plan to invest millions in these properties."
The deal is expected to close by the end of April, he said.
"I don't anticipate any sort of appeal," said Shawn Parker of New Perspective Services, the court-appointed receiver for the two properties that are owned by mortgage-holder GE Capital.
The $16.6 million offer from Realty Capital was the highest, slightly ahead of bids submitted from Twin Tier Hospitality of Sayre, Pa., and locally based Core Properties, according to court filings.
Parker had sought to reopen the process and conduct an auction that would drive up the price GE received.
Realty Capital filed a motion arguing it was the high bidder and should be awarded the properties. After several hours of testimony on Wednesday, Frye decided to allow Capital Partners to purchase the hotels for $16.6 million.
"We always thought we were the highest and best bidder, and are pleased and appreciate the court's decision," Lugash said.
Realty Capital is the majority owner of three other hotels, none in Ohio. It has a minority stake in the Hilton Columbus/Polaris.
The airport hotels have been in receivership since October 2011.
"I'm satisfied because we've had issues with Hilton in terms of the length of time the hotels have been in receivership. They're uncomfortable with that," Parker said. "This will bring an ending to a difficult situation."
Both hotels are Hilton brands.
"We will work with Hilton to ensure we meet their standards and do whatever's necessary to make that happen," Lugash said.
The two hotels have remained open since they went into receivership.
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