Holiday Inn North gets new owners

InterContinental Hotels Group has sold the 300-room Holiday Inn North on Newtown Pike to Lexington H.I. Partners LLC, which will continue to operate the hotel as a Holiday Inn through 2010.

After the franchise expires, the new owners intend to affiliate with another hotel.

Lexington H.I. Partners is an investor group with hotels in Michigan, Louisiana and Costa Rica. One of the principals is Cortland Dusseau of Birmingham, Ala., who has been in the hotel business "a long, long time," said his brother Charles Dusseau, a Miami resident who joined the group to help arrange financing.

Cortland Dusseau was acquainted with Lexington and the Holiday Inn property, Charles Dusseau said.

"It took a long time to get it financed because of the economic meltdown, and the hospitality industry suffered more than other industries," Charles Dusseau said. "Financial institutions look at hotel property more negatively than some other things."

The Dusseaus persisted in trying to buy the hotel "because of the great location, close to downtown, Rupp Arena and the Kentucky Horse Park," Charles Dusseau said. Also the hotel is "on one of the few segments on a north-south interstate that runs confluent with an east-west interstate."

The new climate-controlled indoor arena at the Kentucky Horse Park, which will draw events year-round, "will benefit our property," Charles Dusseau said.

The brothers plan to keep the rebranding of the hotel a surprise, he added.

The Holiday Inn was built in the mid-1960s by the late Roy Winegardner, a pioneer in the hotel industry and former CEO and chairman of Holiday Inns Inc.

Major renovations are planned to the hotel's food and beverage service and catering and convention business, Charles Dusseau said.

"We really want to be partners with people in Lexington," he said. "Lexington is a great, great community. It obviously has a solid foundation that helped it weather the economic crisis in a way that a lot of other communities were not able to."

The Holiday Inn, Denny's restaurant and a Chevron gas station sit on 13 acres owned by John and Ruth Coleman, and their nephew and niece, Walter Coleman III and his sister Jane Fey. The Coleman's also own 54 acres of the Marriott golf course, next door to the Holiday Inn, said Water Coleman of Lexington. The land has been in his family for 150 years, he said.