Holiday Inn is getting a new owner

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— The Steamboat Springs Holiday Inn is changing hands this week, the first time the lodging property has sold in many years.

Longtime owner Bob Alter, whose California-based company is Sunstone Hotel Investors, is selling the 82-room hotel to a Florida-based company, Marr 106 Family Ltd.

The principal in the new ownership group is Scott Marr, who has vacationed here for seven consecutive years. A spokesman for the new owners said longtime Holiday Inn manager Larry Wheeler was encouraged to remain in his position, but opted to resign in order to take care of his mother. Wheeler could not be reached for comment.

Barbara Robinson, the new general manager of the hotel, said the transaction closed Friday.

Alter said he and Steamboat Springs businessman Bob Enever purchased the Holiday Inn from a group of investors in Houston in 1980. Enever is no longer involved. The organization of the ownership went through numerous changes, but Alter's involvement was a constant. Sunstone was publicly held for a time, but Alter took it back into private ownership in 1999.

Alter said he's sad to leave his involvement in Steamboat Springs behind. However, the local holiday inn is out of scale with his other hotels, mostly larger than 200 rooms and in large cities like Seattle, Portland, San Diego, Phoenix and Salt Lake.

"I have a soft spot for Steamboat, but the hotel is just kind of a difficult fit," Alter said.

The new owners recently sold the 56-room Marina Del Mar Bayside Resort on Florida Bay in Key Largo, Fla., creating an opportunity to look for a new investment, Robinson said. She has worked for the company for 18 years and expects to remain in Steamboat at least until next spring.

Partners in Marr 106 own several more lodging properties in Key West, Fla., Robinson said.

Scott Marr intends to move his family to Steamboat Springs permanently after the school year, Robinson said.

He is a former resident of Grand Junction and was looking at some property in Boulder when the broker mentioned that the Holiday Inn in Steamboat was for sale.

Robinson said her company has a track record of investing in and upgrading its properties. Plans are to remodel all of the rooms at the Holiday Inn here in spring of 2002.

Ground was broken on the local Holiday Inn in the summer of 1971 and it opened for the ski season. It was developed by three partners from St. Louis, Mo.

They included brothers Van and Jack Parriott and Joe Scopelite, who moved here to manage the hotel.

Since purchasing the Holiday Inn, Alter has gone on to own hotels all over the western U.S. Sunstone, based in San Clemente, Calif., owns and manages hotels with many prominent brand names. They tend to be near fishing, skiing and golf in the western U.S.

To reach Tom Ross call 871-4210

or e-mail tross@steamboatpilot.com

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