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Reorganized owners investing in Clarion

November 04, 2004|by JULIE E. GREENE

julieg@herald-mail.com

The reorganized ownership group of the Clarion Hotel and Conference Center Antietam Creek is investing more than $1.2 million in improvements at the hotel, one of the owners said Wednesday.

Hagerstown Hotel Associates LLC, which owns the Clarion at 901 Dual Highway, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Nov. 26, 2003, because the 2001 recession and 9/11 terrorist attacks hurt tourism and business travel, according to court records and what owner Bill Burruss said last year.

Hagerstown Hotel Associates has reorganized, bringing on new investors, said Bob Indeglia, who was part of the ownership group before the bankruptcy filing and now.

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This past summer, a five-year plan was approved for Hagerstown Hotel Associates to pay back the bank and its creditors, Indeglia said. The creditors will receive up to 50 cents on the dollar, depending on the hotel's performance, he said in a telephone interview from Rhode Island, where Magna Hospitality has an office. Indeglia is president of Magna Hospitality, which manages the hotel.

According to bankruptcy papers filed a year ago in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Baltimore, the chief creditor was Ocean Bank in McLean, Va., with a $6.2 million claim, of which $5.5 million was secured.

The bankruptcy recovery plan included having Hagerstown Hotel spend approximately $200,000 on improvements to the hotel, but the ownership is spending much more than that, Indeglia said.

"We think that the market is starting to return ever so slightly, but starting to return to Hagerstown," Indeglia said.

Indeglia said the hotel was starting to show some neglect since business declined after the terrorist attacks and the ownership group wanted to show travelers that a lot is being done to improve the hotel and operations.

Renovations to the 210-room hotel are estimated to be done in mid-January, Clarion General Manager Kent Grove said.

In addition to completely renovating 44 rooms, another 156 rooms will get new furniture, carpet and drapes, Indeglia said.

Also, the roof was repaired, Grove said.

Grove said approximately $600,000 was spent a year ago to fix four meeting rooms.

Each of the four rooms in the Magna Center for Executive Learning have high-speed Internet cable hookups for 24 computers, he said.

The next area to be renovated will be the convention center, also known as the grand ballroom, Grove said. There is no timeline for that work yet.

Andrew's Steak and Seafood Restaurant opened during the third week in October in what used to be The Tortuga Restaurant, restaurant General Manager David Young said.

The privately owned restaurant is investing about $100,000 in renovations, Young said.

The restaurant, which can now seat 90 people, will seat approximately 150 to 160 people when the work is finished this month, restaurant and hotel officials said.

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