Antlers Hilton in downtown Colorado Springs facing foreclosure

By Rich Laden Updated: July 24, 2013 at 10:35 am • Published: July 23, 2013 | 5:35 pm 0

The Antlers Hilton hotel in downtown Colorado Springs, which has been one of the Pikes Peak region's signature hotel properties throughout its 130-year history, has been hit with a $36.3 million foreclosure notice.

However, the foreclosure - brought against a limited liability company controlled by owner Pyramid Hotel Group of Boston - will have no effect on the Antlers' day-to-day operation, said Pyramid CEO Richard Kelleher.

Guests will see no changes in services at the 292-room Antlers, which is one of the city's largest and best known hotels, Kelleher said. Employees will not lose their jobs, and the hotel's management will remain unchanged, he said.

Also, Pyramid will continue to operate the hotel, which will remain a Hilton brand, he said.

The foreclosure results from what Kelleher described as a restructuring of Pyramid's debt on the hotel; the foreclosure, he said, was a consensual decision with Pyramid's lender.

"It's a financial restructuring between the owner and the lender, and the best way to achieve that is through a foreclosure," Kelleher said. "It's really a seamless transaction between the owner and the lender."

However, the restructuring will result in a new owner of the Antlers, Kelleher said. Whether Pyramid will retain an ownership stake after the restructuring is completed isn't known, he said.

A limited liability company controlled by LNR Partners of Miami Beach, Fla., is the current holder of a $36.4 million loan taken out by the Pyramid-controlled entity in 2007, according to El Paso County Public Trustee's records.

LNR Partners is a subsidiary of LNR Property LLC, a real estate investment, finance, management and development company that was spun off from homebuilder Lennar Corp. in 1997.

Doug Price, president and CEO of the Colorado Springs Convention and Visitors Bureau, said a strong and vibrant Antlers is significant for downtown, especially in light of a proposal by Mayor Steve Bach and other groups to build a downtown multiuse stadium and an Olympic museum.

"It's critical that the hotel be positioned to be a part of and benefit from some of these projects," Price said.

The Antlers has had a rich and colorful history in Colorado Springs.

The original hotel opened in 1883 at Pikes Peak and Cascade avenues on a 4-acre site donated by Colorado Springs founder Gen. William Jackson Palmer, who also donated $125,000 toward the hotel's cost.

Palmer, who founded Colorado Springs in 1871, named the hotel "The Antlers" because his deer and elk trophy collections were displayed there, according to Gazette archives.

But the original Antlers was destroyed in a fire in 1898, and a rebuilt Antlers opened three years later.

In 1964, the aging hotel was razed and rebuilt, opening in 1967 as a 276-room property. It underwent a makeover and expansion in 1990.

A joint venture of Pyramid Hotel Group and Morgan Stanley Real Estate Group bought the hotel for $27.2 million in December 2003 and launched a $7 million to $10 million renovation.

Over the years and with different owners, the hotel became known as the Antlers Doubletree and the Antlers Adam's Mark; it was rebranded as the Antlers Hilton in 2004.

The current ownership entity took control of the hotel in October 2007, El Paso County Assessor's Office records show.

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Contact Rich Laden: 636-0228 Twitter @richladen

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