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VOL. 118 | NO. 13 | Thursday, January 22, 2004

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Holiday Inn revamped, sold to new owners

Revamped Holiday Inn Changes Hands

New owners plan more improvements to increase business


The Daily News

Following a year of extensive renovation, a Holiday Inn hotel at Mt. Moriah Road in Memphis has been sold.

Changing hands. Tanglewood Hospitality Venture Inc., an Illinois-based corporation, sold the 197-room hotel to Veer Enterprises LLC for $3.8 million, according to The Daily News Public Records Database.

Liz Smith, general manager of the 30-year-old hotel, said the Memphis hotel is Veer Enterprises fourth hotel property. Other hotels owned by the Memphis-based company are located in Arkansas and Mississippi.

The Memphis property is the company's first full-service hotel.

Ocean Hospitalities, the Holiday Inns management company, will be retained, along with the hotel's 85 employees.

Improved property. Smith said the new owners interest in the hotel was due in part to its potential for an increase in business.

The hotel, located at 2490 Mt. Moriah near American Way, recently underwent about $1 million in renovations. Smith said occupancy at the hotel has not been bursting at the seams, but that the hotel did well overall last year.

"We didn't necessarily have a busy last quarter, but we stayed busy all of last year even during a time of a lot of renovation," Smith said. "There was a lot of stuff that added up to make a difference.

"We did well considering the condition the property was in thanks to construction."

Upgrades. Renovation work included the installation of new vinyl flooring in all the hotel's public areas and upgrades to the restrooms. It also included new bedding and air conditioning units for every guest room, and the addition of micro-refrigerators to every room.

Exterior work at the hotel property included landscape improvements.

New amenities. Smith said Veer Enterprises officials have hinted at making more additions to the hotel, ones that could increase occupancy by the typical business traveler.

Theyre looking at it from the perspective of, What else can we do to make it better for the people who come into the area? she said.

One proposal is to add high-speed Internet access to each of the hotels guest rooms.

Attracting customers. During the past few years, businesses surrounding the hotel have experienced a decline in customer traffic.

A former Dennys restaurant sits vacant across the street from the hotel.

The Tennessee Department of Transportation has been conducting major roadwork nearby on Interstate 240, a project that has limited access to the area for several months. Also, the nearby Mall of Memphis closed its doors on Christmas Eve.

The mall is an eyesore, Smith said. But there are other nearby malls, such as the Hickory Ridge Mall, if people want to go to one.

Smith added that the Mall of Memphis closing didnt affect business at the hotel, which she said generally does well in attracting large groups, as well as out-of-town visitors to major sporting events in the city.

She said the hotel also books a fair amount of air travelers, thanks to a complimentary hotel shuttle service that transports customers to any location within 5 miles of the hotel, including Memphis International Airport.

Better days. Smith said although the area around the Mall of Memphis has seen better days, owners of businesses surrounding the now-vacant property believe there is hope for a better tomorrow. She noted that several business owners in the area have talked about trying to jumpstart revitalization efforts.

The hotel has already taken steps in that direction, she added.

Renovation was the first thing that had to be done, Smith said. The hotel wasnt totally falling apart, but there have been significant improvements to the hotel both inside and out.

The property looks good now.


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