owners of the Crowne Plaza hotel missed a crucial deadline in their bankruptcy proceeding, almost certainly meaning that the hotel will get a new owner, the city's chief operating officer said Wednesday.
CHOA Vision LLC, a group of Korean Americans who bought the Crowne Plaza in 2007 for $20 million, filed for bankruptcy reorganization in August. But the group failed to meet its Tuesday deadline for producing a reorganization plan, and a judge dismissed the case, said David Panagore, the city's chief operating officer.
Ownership could fall to 50 Morgan CT LLC, the hotel's first mortgage holder, Panagore said. A spokesman for the company could not be reached for comment Wednesday.
Panagore said officials at 50 Morgan have indicated that they would keep the hotel open and that they intend to preserve about 50 jobs there.
"50 Morgan expressed to the judge that it wanted to maintain the hotel, to make it the best hotel it could be," he said.
CHOA Vision owed $13 million on a mortgage that it stopped paying on in January 2010.
The hotel, near I-84, is in a less-desirable location than other hotels in the city's central business district because the highway forms a barrier between the hotel and the rest of downtown.
City officials had contacted CHOA Vision several times since the company filed for bankruptcy, Panagore said, but the only response they received "was that they were working through internal management issues."
Then, last week, the city received a call from one of CHOA Vision's managing partners inquiring about a Section 108 loan from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. A similar loan was arranged for the Hilton Hartford hotel last year.
Panagore said that CHOA was seeking the loan to supplement a $1 million payment requested by the bankruptcy court. But the judge dismissed the case before the city could look into it.
Officials at CHOA did not return a call seeking comment Wednesday.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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