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May. 15, 2014

Hotel Market Picks Up in Baton Rouge

By Eliza Theiss, Associate Editor

Night view of Baton Rouge from Mississippi River

GTM Hospitality LLC and LIG Assets Inc. (LIGA) have announced the acquisition of the 81-unit Wyndham Baton Rouge Hotel for an undisclosed amount.

The property has a unique financial structure that includes LIG Assets Inc.  Financing for the purchase was provided through The Bancorp Bank, while advisory services were provided through New York-based Meridian Capital.

The property offers easy access to the up-and-coming downtown of Baton Rouge, Louisiana State University and Tiger Stadium. The hotel benefits from the market’s higher education industry as well as the oil and gas industry and the transient, group and long-term contract business afforded by these .

According to the Greater Baton Rouge Business Report, the Microtel Inn and Suites by Wyndham on Rieger Road was purchase for a little over $5 million by a group of investors operating as LIG Assets Inc. from in Panama City, Fla. While LIGA is based in Dallas, GTM Hospitality is based in Panama City. The Rieger Road Property is one of three Microtel Inn & Suites-branded hotels in Baton Rouge. It offers amenities such as an outdoor pool, grill area and business center.

GTM Hospitality is a fully integrated management and development company, while LIGA is a publicly traded real estate company.  The two entities plan to partner on future acquisitions as well.

In other hospitality news, local real estate developer Mike Wampold is looking to gut and redevelop the 12-story former state office building at 150 N. Third Street into a 146-key hotel, reports The Times-Picayune.  Wampold has applied for state incentives for the project, citing that the average downtown Baton Rouge room rate of $125 per night would not be enough to cover the yet-to-be-disclosed development costs. If approved, construction on the former Louisiana National Bank headquarters would start by the end of the year and finish before 2015 is out, reported The Advocate.

If the State Senate approves the request, a special tax increment financing district dubbed Old LNB Building Redevelopment District would be created around the future hotel. Three other downtown hotels benefited from similar measures.

Downtown Baton Rouge currently has 820 hotel rooms. Wampold’s project, paired with an 89-key Holiday Inn Express set to open in the former Baton Rouge Savings & Loan building by the end of the year, would push that number to 1,000. According to several reports, the additional hotel capacity would result in an increase in convention business.

According to The Times-Picayune’s coverage, Mike Wampold purchased the building for an undisclosed amount in February, after earlier this year the Baton Rouge Area Foundation (BRAF) paid $10.25 million for it. At the time of the purchase, Wampold had declared that he would place the future development under the ownership of his Milford Wampold Charitable Foundation with all profits feeding into the foundation.

Image credit: getmahesh via Wikimedia Commons

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