Category Logo

Cazana to sell two major hotel properties downtown; Holiday Inn World’s Fair Park will get major renovation

January 29, 2019

Nicholas G. Cazana, managing partner of THE TENNESSEAN Personal Luxury Hotel and HOLIDAY INN WORLD’S FAIR PARK, said an agreement has been reached to sell the two hotels.

Named for the Tennessee River and located in downtown Knoxville, THE TENNESSEAN Personal Luxury Hotel opened in 2017. It was named No. 1 on Southern Living’s South’s Best hotels list in 2018.

“This has been a difficult decision,” Cazana said. “But the companies purchasing and managing the two hotels have an extensive amount of experience, know-how and capital to take the properties to the next level.”

Rockbridge Capital is the intended buyer of the hotels, which will be managed by Aimbridge Hospitality. The purchase price was not released. The sale is expected to close later this month.

Rockbridge, based in Columbus, Ohio, is an investment company with more than 200 hospitality properties in 38 states valued at more than $5 billion.

“Through our deep in-house experience and strong relationships, we have delivered a long track record of attractive risk-adjusted returns across multiple cycles,” said Matt Welch, a vice president of Rockbridge. Rockbridge plans to retain all current employees.

Based in Plano, Texas, Aimbridge Hospitality is the nation’s largest independent hotel investment and management firm. It provides management, asset management, development, renovation and consulting services. The firm currently manages about 800 hotels and is a preferred operator for Marriott, Starwood, Hyatt, Hilton, Embassy, Wyndham and Hard Rock.

“Our company operates across a full spectrum of property types including resorts, franchise branded, independent luxury, boutique and lifestyle hotels,” said David Capps, senior vice president of development for Aimbridge. “Our highly resourced company offers an unrivaled track record of creating and maximizing asset value and holds an enviable position as a preferred management company for all of the major hospitality brands.”

With the sale closing, Rockbridge plans a $20 million-plus renovation of the HOLIDAY INN WORLD’S FAIR PARK property, including new heating and cooling systems and new windows throughout, as well as renovation of all guest rooms, meeting and public spaces, elevators, escalators, restaurant and bar. When complete, Knoxville will have 370 (check number) beautifully updated hotel rooms adjacent to the Knoxville Convention Center, which should greatly enhance and increase convention business in Knoxville.

Cazana is the president of Commercial and Investment Properties in Knoxville. In 2009, Cazana and his partners purchased the former Holiday Inn Select, a 37-year-old property with 293 rooms. The partnership immediately announced improvements exceeding $6 million for the HOLIDAY INN WORLD’S FAIR PARK and upon completion received national awards from Holiday Inn’s parent company, IHG, for Best Renovation of the Year.

In 2017, THE TENNESSEAN Personal Luxury Hotel & Residences opened. Cazana renovated the former state office building at 531 Henley St., into the luxurious AAA Four Diamond-rated 82-room hotel with 12 upper-bracket condominiums on the top two floors. One of the features of THE TENNESSEAN is the elegant Governor’s Suite, which rents for $3,000 per night. The hotel, which was named No. 1 on Southern Living’s “The South’s Best Hotels 2018” list, also features The Drawing Room lounge which offers fine spirits, handcrafted cocktails and fresh, seasonal small plates.

Cazana will retain ownership of the condominiums, which will continue to receive all the services and amenities that were being provided to the units by THE TENNESSEAN Hotel.