The foreclosure auction for Minnesota’s largest hotel, the Hilton Minneapolis, has been rescheduled for March 10, even as business approaches pre-pandemic levels.
The Hilton is at the center of a foreclosure case stretching back more than two years. The hotel owners stopped making monthly payments in April 2020 as bookings evaporated at the start of the COVID-19 outbreak.
Wells Fargo Bank, the trustee for JPMorgan Chase , which provided a $180 million loan to investors in 2018, sued in October 2020 over the loan default.
Hilton’s fate is viewed by some as a proxy for the future of downtown Minneapolis. The pandemic crushed many businesses, and those that hung on are waiting for a return of vibrancy.
There are some indicators that people — and activities — are returning to the urban core. Doug Greene, a member of the investment group that owns the hotel, said he expects this year’s revenue will match 2018 after a several-year slump.
According to receiver reports in the court filings, the Hilton had $44.4 million in revenue and turned a profit in 2022. That’s up significantly from its 2021 revenue of $12.2 million. The Hilton’s best year was 2019 when it pulled in $63 million in revenue, Greene said.
Court documents show $14.2 million in earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization — a measure of profitability — last year.
Greene said the Hilton’s large size makes it expensive to operate under any conditions. But there’s another major hurdle.
“The problem is our interest costs have doubled,” said Greene, managing director of Florida-based Haberhill LLC, which owns the hotel with Chicago-based Walton Street Capital.
Greene said he can’t predictwhether he and the other investors will remain owners of the hotel. The auction originally was scheduled for Jan. 13; the hotel owners were notified Tuesday of the new auction date at the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office.
It’s not unusual for commercial real estate foreclosure cases to be fairly drawn out, said Manus Clancy, senior managing director with Trepp, a New York-based firm that often monitors distressed properties.
“It can take years for this to play