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Three Roberts hotels sold at bankruptcy auction; Walthall not included

A hearing is set for April 3 in St. Louis to finalize the sale of three hotels owned by St. Louis-based Roberts Cos., owners of downtown Jackson’s shuttered Roberts Vista Hotel.

The Jackson property, known for several decades as The Walthall, is not among the Roberts hotels to be sold April 3. The 85-year-old East Capitol Street landmark is in receivership after an attempted bankruptcy filing on the property by current owners Mike and Steve Roberts, principals of Roberts Hotel Group. The parent Roberts Cos. also owns Roberts Broadcasting, which filed for bankruptcy in 201.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the trio of hotels were sold in a bankruptcy auction last week for a combined $5.2 million. The hotels are in Tampa, Spartanburg, S.C., and Marietta, Ga., according to the Associated Press.

Six hotels owned by Roberts Cos. filed for bankruptcy last year after a $34 million lawsuit from Bank of America sought repayment on loans made to Roberts-owned entities that were in default. A Roberts-owned hotel in Houston sold last month for $2.1 million. The other two hotels are in Dallas and Shreveport, La.

Meanwhile, a court-appointed receiver is in talks with several prospective buyers of downtown Jackson’s Roberts Vista Hotel, currently closed and awaiting repairs from water damage.

The hotel is known more commonly in Jackson as The Walthall, for Civil War figure Edward Cary Walthall, whose name it bore upon opening 85 years ago.

As it has several times in the past, the property today is awaiting a new owner, perhaps another makeover and name change.

Hinds County Chancery Judge William Singletary ordered the property sold after the Roberts brothers failed in a bid to liquidate their debts on the property through a federal bankruptcy filing. Singletary appointed property specialist Lee Katz of Atlanta as receiver. Katz’ task is to sell the property to help defray $7.5 million in bond debt owed Wells Fargo on the multi-story property.

“I basically try to lay ‘Let’s Make a Deal,’” said Katz, a principal of GGPartners, a venture capital/private equity firm.

“My role is to try to find somebody to buy the property,” he said, and added his goal is have “something done in three to six months,” though most hotel receiverships last 16 to 18 months.

The Jackson property includes a $2.7-million garage facing Pearl Street, a restaurant, bar and gift shop.

Katz said in a recent interview that he had no progress to report on finding a buyer for the hotel.



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