Troubled Colorado Springs' Crowne Plaza Hotel sold

By Wayne Heilman Updated: May 22, 2013 at 4:16 pm • Published: May 21, 2013 | 4:45 pm 0

A company headed by Texas investor John Bushman has purchased the financially troubled Crowne Plaza Hotel for $14 million, with plans to switch it to his MCM Hotels chain and begin a major renovation.

The 500-room hotel at 2886 S. Circle Drive will become the Hotel Elegante Conference and Event Center and will undergo a "multi-million-dollar renovation" starting with replacing all guest room mattresses, adding a Starbucks Cafe, Blue Bell Ice Cream parlor, a playground for children, a sports bar, fire pit and outdoor seating, according to a press release issued Tuesday. A partnership called 513 Hotels Ltd., a division of Bushman's Investment Corp. of America bought the hotel Tuesday from two partnerships that acquired it in 2007.

"We may not quite be The Broadmoor, but we're the next best thing to it. If they're 'champagne and caviar,' we're 'fine wine and rib-eye' for approximately half the price," Bushman said in the press release.

Bushman retained Alex Francis as general manager and Tracey Hampton as director of sales and marketing, as well as the rest of the hotel's 250 employees. The hotel includes 50,000 square feet of meeting space in four ballrooms and 31 meeting rooms, a restaurant, lounge and small gift shop, a fitness center and indoor and outdoor pools.

The hotel is Bushman's third major purchase in the Colorado Springs area in recent years. ICA last year bought the former Candlewood Suites hotel at 6450 N. Academy Blvd. and renamed it the MCM Elegante Suites and acquired a vacant former Macy's department store in The Citadel mall for $3 million in 2010. The company owns more than 160 properties in 20 cities and six states, including seven other hotels in New Mexico and Texas under the MCM Elegante and MCM Grande names.

"We are extremely excited about the future here at Hotel Elegante. With our new owner's entrepreneurial management style, our main focus will be offering the best four-star guest experience possible," Francis said. "I think it is extraordinary that the hotel has been purchased by someone who knows and gives back to the city."

Bushman also owns homes in the Broadmoor Resort Community and Flying Horse developments, each valued by the El Paso County Assessor's Office at more than $2 million.

The hotel was put on the market in January by David Buddemeyer, president of Florida-based Driftwood Hospitality Management LLC, who was named receiver for the hotel in June by 4th Judicial District Judge Gregory Werner at the request of Wells Fargo Bank. The bank is trustee for a Boston-based trust that owns a $30.8 million loan used by Stamford Real Estate (Colorado Springs) LLC and Harrell Colorado Operating Co. LLC to acquire the hotel in 2007 and renovate it a year later. They defaulted on the loan in 2011.

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Contact Wayne Heilman: 636-0234 Twitter @wayneheilman

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