March 11 2009 | Latest NewsHotelier rescues property from limbo
Former owner lost it to foreclosure
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
By Kate Moran Times Picayune
Local hotelier Blake Miller has purchased and renovated the French Quarter Courtyard, a
North Rampart Street hotel whose previous owner lost the property to foreclosure.
Park National Bank repossessed the hotel last April from former owner Ty Angeron, and it sold the property to Miller last month for $1.7 million: less than the outstanding mortgage. Miller said he felt the price was an "unbelievable deal."
The French Quarter Courtyard sits next to another hotel Miller owns, the French Quarter
Suites. He said the latter property is perpetually full, and the acquisition will allow him to
accommodate more guests. Though the hotels will maintain separate names, guests will be able to move freely between their courtyards, pools and other common areas.
"We were able to double our size overnight, and we are a very high-demand hotel," Miller said. "We stay sold out, and this is going to give us a lot of opportunity."
The French Quarter Courtyard has 51 guest rooms, but Angela White, a bookkeeper for
Miller, said he will likely operate it with about 44. He also plans to change the name of the property to the Courtyard Hotel New Orleans. It is located at 1101-13 North Rampart.
Angeron, the previous owner, could not be located Tuesday for comment. He and business partners Edward Jacobs and Gerald Boulmay bought the hotel in 2007 for more than $3 million. The bank acquired it from them at foreclosure last year for $2.1 million and kept it open -- but barely.
Miller said he performed a substantial makeover, repainting all the rooms, varnishing the
wood floors and adding new landscaping and patio furniture for the pool and brick courtyard areas. He called the hotel a "spectacular, very unusual piece of property" with balconies of varying design ringing the courtyard.
Miller said he has carved out a niche in the local tourism market that relies on business from repeat travelers from nearby cities and states looking for an affordable way to stay in the French Quarter. He does not market himself to convention travelers, who might be more likely to stay in one of the mammoth hotels on or near Canal Street.
"We have not experienced a big slowdown," Miller said. "We have a clientele that comes from surrounding cities and states that we've had for years and years. Repeat business is what we thrive on."
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Kate Moran can be reached at email@example.com or 504.826.3491.