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Story of the year 2011: 6. Nashua’s Radisson Hotel goes on the block but survives

By Staff | Dec 28, 2011

EDITOR’S NOTE: The Telegraph will run the 10 biggest local stories of 2011 in the paper during the next several days.

NASHUA – One of Nashua’s landmark buildings went from trouble to saved to troubled to saved again this year beginning with an abrupt but temporary closure at the outset of 2011.

The Radisson Hotel’s previous owner, Southern New Hampshire Hospitality Management Group, temporarily shuttered the hotel in February, chasing guest and employees out into the parking lot while claiming the building had a plumbing leak. It soon surfaced that the company had financial woes.

The hotel reopened days later and a court battle ensued over the next several months, eventually leading to a foreclosure auction at the end of November.

The auction had no effect on a legal dispute between the owner of Southern New Hampshire Hospitality Management, Anthony DiLorenzo, and the mortgage holder, AFP 105 Corp.

After DiLorenzo’s company temporarily closed the hotel, a federal judge allowed Crescent Hotels & Resorts LLC to temporarily run the business while AFP 105 and SNHHM tangled in court for most of this year.

The hotel lost between $14,000 and $158,000 a month between January and July, according to court-ordered financial reports cited in AFP 105’s motion.

In its objection to AFP 105’s motion, Southern New Hampshire Hospitality argued improper actions by the original lender, CW Capital, created the financial difficulties.

In November, a New York hotelier won a brief bidding war with a $5.5 million bid. Attilio Petrocelli, CEO of United Capital, a Great Neck, N.Y., company that deals in real estate and operates four hotels on the East Coast, said his company will spend as much as another $6 million to renovate the Radisson’s 336 guest rooms, convention rooms and restaurant.

“We’re gonna make everyone proud of this hotel,” Petrocelli said.

The Flatley Co. opened the hotel in 1979, and operated it as the Sheraton Tara until Southern New Hampshire Hospitality Management bought it in 2007 and franchised the business under the Radisson umbrella.

The building stands as one of Nashua’s defining landmarks with its castle design and size – all visible from F.E. Everett Turnpike. Its vicinity to the highway had long made the hotel a destination spot, an aspect Petrocelli would like to continue.

“We think this should be the place to have a social function in Nashua,” he said.

“If you get married, we want you to get married here. If you have a prom, we want the prom here. We want every social function to be here.”

Petrocelli’s company operates a Radisson in Utica, N.Y., Doubletree at Hilton hotels in Miami and Windsor Locks, Conn., and a Wellesley Inn hotel in Atlanta.

Aside from the restaurant, the Nashua Radisson has several large function ballrooms and smaller conference rooms, and an attached gym owned by Atlantis Sports Club.

Ducks and geese have long made the hotel’s pond a stopping point in their migrations.

Southern New Hampshire Hospitality’s mortgage on the building required that $2.3 million in capital improvements be added to the building, but CW Capital rejected all but about $500,000 of those upgrades.

The lender demanded more than $1.8 million in payments, which DiLorenzo refused, and then started taking loan payments and applying them to a separate account, according to one of DiLorenzo’s court filings.

That action created a loss of at least $1.4 million for the hotel and created a “snowball effect” of cash shortages and missed payments, according to Southern New Hampshire Hospitality’s motion.

Joseph G. Cote can be reached at 594-6415 or jcote@nashuatelegraph.com.


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