The hotel is up for sale less than four years after the JSU Foundation received the property as a donation. The university is not in the hotel business, said Wendy Blissett, a partner with Atlanta-based Hotel Assets Group, the firm that listed the property for sale.
“They would like to sell it, so that someone can come in there, someone in the hospitality industry preferably, and can actually run it,” Blissett said.
The JSU Foundation Real Estate Holding Company is listed as the owner of the property, because the university is not able to own a hotel, said Angie Finley, spokeswoman for the university. Attempts Monday to reach JSU foundation board members were unsuccessful.
The university has a third-party management company running the Victoria. That company will stay in place pending what a new owner would like to do, Blissett said.
Blissett said the entire property is available for sale – the 60-room inn, the restaurant and a separate building that is currently being used as an art gallery – for an asking price of $1.5 million. That price is, of course, negotiable, she said. It’s also about half of what the hotel is valued at for tax purposes. The Calhoun County Revenue Commissioner’s Office lists the property as worth $2.88 million.
In November 2008, Earlon McWhorter and partners took over the hotel after a foreclosure for a listed $2.85 million. He donated the property to JSU on Dec. 31, 2008, according to the deed.
The same troubled economy that landed the property in the foundation’s hands may be an issue as the foundation tries to sell the property. The economy isn’t as much an issue when selling hotels, said Blissett, who has been selling hotels for about 15 years.
“It has affected it,” Blissett said. “I would say not to the extent that it has affected residential. Typically hotels tend to fare a little better.”
Financing can be harder to obtain during a bad economy, but there are still a lot of people out there who have money and are able to invest in distressed properties, she said. And the Inn has some things going for it. It is a unique property, Blissett said. Her company sells mainly chain hotels such as Red Roof Inn, Motel 6 or Holiday Inn Express. This type of hotel would probably draw a different type of buyer, she added.
Blissett, who is from Anniston, said the historic status of the Victoria makes the property an exciting listing.
“I remember the Victoria back in its days,” Blissett said. “It is such a historic landmark and a lot of people in Anniston have ties or had ties, some sort of relationship to the Victoria over the years.”
That relationship to the town gives the property a unique status, she said.
Betsy Bean, executive director of The Spirit of Anniston, agreed.
She stayed in the inn when she interviewed for her job in Anniston and, although it is outside area her oganization works to promote, Bean includes it in marketing campaigns for the downtown district.
“They have a fabulous restaurant in it, one of my favorites,” Bean said.
But beyond that, it is the last of the historic mansions that once lined Quintard, and makes a good impression on people visiting the city.
“That’s the nicest nearest hotel,” Bean said.
Contact staff writer Laura Camper at 256-235-3545.