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Wayside Hotel Plan in Jeopardy?

by joe.arnold

WHAS11.com

Posted on July 10, 2009 at 6:42 PM

Updated Thursday, Oct 22 at 1:20 PM

hotel.jpg

Wayside Christian Mission has been thrown a curve ball in its intended and controversial purchase of the Hotel Louisville at Second and Broadway.

The other bidder at the hotel's May foreclosure sale wants the building put back on the auction block, saying Wayside did not acquire a bond to ensure the purchase price within a 30 day deadline.

"It's another bump in the road for us," said Wayside's Nina Moseley after a Friday hearing.

An attorney for investor Phil Mason, the other bidder at the hotel's auction, stated an objection at the hearing, saying because Wayside did not secure a bond within 30 days of the foreclosure sale as required, the Circuit Court Commissioner's office should void Wayside's purchase.

"A bond has been submitted but it was not timely submitted," argued Charlton Hundley, "And it's on that basis that we believe that the sale is irregular and that the proper remedy should be a second sale."

Moseley was shocked by the move, "that was quite out of the blue I think from most everyone in that room," she said.

Though Kentucky law does require a bond within 30 days, Moseley said Wayside was told a mere couple of days before the deadline.

"We had had conversations with the commissioner, our attorney had on what would be required and no one really knew what would be required. That they don't normally require the bond is what we were told."

If another auction is ordered, the other bidder for the property says he would get back in the game.
"I'd like to make it a Holiday Inn as it has been," disclosed Phil Mason, "And if Holiday Inn is willing to work with me with the renovations, I'd like to open it up as a Holiday Inn." Mason says it would take up to $4 million in renovations to get the property up to Holiday Inn specifications, but that as a Holiday Inn property, he estimates it would be worth more than $30 million, adding that ten years ago, the hotel had net profits of more than $2.5 million per year.

"The highest and best use of that property is a hotel," Mason said, "It's not a homeless shelter and it's not a college."

Since the May auction, another potential buyer has entered the mix, Jefferson Community and Technical College, has received state approval to bid ten and a half million dollars.

So - would Wayside get into a bidding war?

"That would be a question for our board to answer," Moseley said, "Iit really would. We're hoping the commissioner looks at the performance that we did do, and we have fully performed as of now, and we're just hoping and trusting God that we're going to get this building for our women and families."

Wayside has been on the defensive ever since it bid an eyepopping $10 million for the hotel property.
Then came concerns from lawmakers and even Mayor Jerry Abramson that the best fit for the corner is Jefferson Community and Technical College. Wayside is still interested in selling the parking lot to the college.

Moseley says the clock is ticking. When the non-profit sold its Market Street property last year, it agreed to vacate by 2010. At the latest, they want the women and children in the hotel before this winter.

As for speculation of alternative locations, Moseley says the hotel is uniquely suited because it's ready, immediately. It has rooms and bathrooms, while other properties like the recently shuttered Louisville Antique Mall would take more time and money for renovations.

Regardless of how a judge rules on the objection, it appears inevitable that the hotel sale will end up in a court battle. Both sides have up to ten days to file exceptions with the ruling, whatever it is.

"We thought we would be a step closer today," Moseley sighed, "we're going to have to step back and regroup and see how it goes from here."

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