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VOL. 124 | NO. 239 | Monday, December 7, 2009

French Quarter’s Original Owners Buy Back Property

By Eric Smith

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The French Quarter Suites Hotel has come full circle, as the group that originally owned the property in the 1980s reacquired it last month for $1.5 million.

FQI LLC, a limited liability company whose chief manager is Ronald L. Kirkpatrick, bought the shuttered hotel at 2144 Madison Ave. from three sellers – Lodgian Memphis Property Owner LLC, Horace and Ann Proctor, and Martha D. Sutton – in three separate warranty deeds all dated in November.

The 105-room hotel, at the northeast corner of Madison Avenue and Cooper Street in the Overton Square neighborhood, closed in July 2008.

Kirkpatrick is CEO of the commercial real estate development company Kirkpatrick Development. When reached by phone Friday, Kirkpatrick declined to disclose plans for the property, which is surrounded by a fence, but he did tell The Daily News that he was the developer of the property and that it might not be a hotel moving forward. He said plans would be made public this week.

“There’s a lot of things in motion, and I don’t want to mislead the public,” Kirkpatrick said. “There’s so much happening in Overton Square. Whatever you say today sometime changes tomorrow.”

Kirkpatrick was alluding to the potential redevelopment of the Overton Square properties at the southwest corner of Madison and Cooper. Sooner Investment of Oklahoma is looking to bring a grocery store and other retail shops to that corner. The company recently hired Frank Ricks of Looney Ricks Kiss Architects to assist with its planning.

FQI bought the property’s west parcel Nov. 20 from Lodgian Memphis Property Owner for $1 million; the east parcel Nov. 5 from the Proctors for $200,000; and the central parcel Nov. 12 from Sutton for $300,000. FQI financed the purchase with a $1.3 million loan through Triumph Bank.

A call to Atlanta-based Lodgian Inc., the company that owned and managed the hotel, wasn’t immediately returned. The property was listed on LoopNet for $1.7 million, or $16,190 per room.

The listing’s description of the hotel said the seller had recently called for a “major price reduction.”

“The original $3.5 million asking price and the onset of the capital crunch has created the opportunity to purchase this asset for the greatly reduced asking price of $1.7 million,” the listing reads. “This price equates to $16,000 a room for a 105-room hotel with suites, extensive amenities and a prior history of good performance; or, around $22 per square foot for a 78,400 +/- square-foot building.”

The French Quarter Suites Hotel also is subject to two separate ground leases.

RECORD TOTALS DAY WEEK YEAR
PROPERTY SALES 85 305 21,577
MORTGAGES 62 223 16,417
FORECLOSURE NOTICES 0 17 1,504
BUILDING PERMITS 0 571 42,491
BANKRUPTCIES 34 138 6,717
BUSINESS LICENSES 40 72 3,169
UTILITY CONNECTIONS 0 0 0
MARRIAGE LICENSES 0 0 0