Newly created SHG Management LLC of Sherwood recently purchased the Legacy Hotel in downtown Little Rock for $2.85 million and plans to spend another $5 million on renovations.
The hotel, at 625 W. Capitol Ave., originally opened as the Hotel Freiderica in 1914. It was built by Arkansas Gazette business manager Fred Allsopp and designed by Theodore Marcus Sanders. In 2003, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places.
The property was most recently owned by Southern Comfort Inns Inc., purchased it for $974,000 in November 2001. Amin Amarshi, who led Southern Comfort when it purchased the hotel, could not be reached for comment Wednesday.
According to Kishan Patel, the director of operations for SHG Management, the limited liability company is made up of five partners: Parimal Patel, Bhavin Patel, Ankur Desai, Jitendra Patel and Jamak LLC.
Kishan Patel said the individual partners are from the Little Rock area and have other hotel properties. He said the group decided to purchase the Legacy in part due to its history and location. They plan to change the hotel back its original name, Hotel Frederica, after renovations are complete.
"I think most of the partners were pretty convinced that it's a nice old property with a lot of historic value to it," Kishan Patel said. "We thought … the downtown area would be a nice area to try another boutique hotel — they're starting to become a little more popular now."
He said the new owners see downtown growing and becoming a hub for business; he cited the Little Rock Technology Park, the first phase of which is scheduled to open on Main Street early next year.
"When we saw the hotel we were surprised how good of shape it was in for being 100 years old," he said. "It was supposed to be kind of a hot spot back in the day."
Although the hotel is in "good shape," Kishan Patel said the previous owner "probably did not keep up with it as well as he could have."
Renovations on the 65,000-SF building are set to begin in October and wrap up in April. The hotel will remain open throughout the multi-phase construction process. Kishan Patel said the building will undergo major cosmetic renovations but structurally will remain the same. It will be styled and designed as a "boutique" hotel, he said.
Plans include new colors on the building's exterior and a facelift of the bar, kitchen and restaurant, which the new owners plan to lease. The lobby will retain its marble floors and dark wood trim.
Each of the hotel's 86 guest rooms will be renovated with new carpeting, paint and updated bathrooms. The new owners plant to offer six or seven different room layouts. Kishan Patel described the new look as "Southern charming" and "modern historic."
The hotel will operate under the Choice Hotels flag owned by publicly traded Choice Hotels International Inc. of Rockville, Maryland. Kishan Patel said the hotel will be part of Choice's Ascend Hotel Collection, which is made up of "one-of-a-kind, upscale hotels."
The hotel underwent $2 million in renovations in 2002, shortly after Southern Comfort's acquisition. Those changes included connecting two sections of the building; adding a restaurant and meeting rooms; and reducing the number of guest rooms from 116 to 97 to incorporate more two-bedroom suites.