Best Western Plus Plaza. Christopher Wood/BizWest

Hotels-to-apartments developer buys Longmont’s Best Western Plus Plaza Hotel

LONGMONT — The Best Western Plus Plaza in Longmont, which has welcomed guests for nearly four decades, could be transformed into residential housing after this month’s sale of the 210-room inn to a developer specializing in transforming hotels into apartments. 

Vivo Apt Longmont LLC, a subsidiary of California-based Vivo Living, bought the 39-year-old Best Western Plus Plaza Hotel at 1900 Ken Pratt Blvd. from CO Hotel LLC, an affiliate of Chester, Virginia.-based Shamin Hotels, for $15.4 million. 

Shamin took over the property in 2018 from longtime and well-known owner Pratt Management Co. 

At the time, Shamin said it planned to renovate the hotel and the 36,000-square-foot Plaza Convention Center, which it had agreed to manage under a deal struck with owner Chernoff Boulder Properties LLC. But less than a year after taking over management duties, Shamin exercised a clause in its contract to stop managing the convention center, and bookings were halted. The convention center has remained closed and, despite cries from the community about the need for large-scale event space, Longmont has yet to replace it. 

The Best Western remains open and is accepting reservations. However, it’s unclear for how long.

According to Vivo Living’s website, the property will be rehabilitated and turned into apartments. 

Vivo, representatives of which did not respond to requests for comment Friday, has an in-house construction team that operates under a “hotels to homes” framework and “specializes in converting low-demand hotels to efficiency apartment complexes at market-rate pricing to renters while reducing traffic, waste and sprawl. Vivo is a response to rapid gentrification crowding out our younger population and exacerbating income inequality across the country. Vivo’s mission is to enhance the lives of those both in and part of our communities.”

One of Vivo’s investors in the deal was New York-based TF Management Group LLC.

“These conversion properties are offering excellent profitability for investors,” TF Management Group LLC CEO Mike Zlotnik, who directed other questions to Vivo, said in a prepared statement. “But they’re also the type of investment that serves communities hard hit by the pandemic.”

It would seem to make sound business sense to turn the hotel into apartments, as home prices in Longmont and throughout the Boulder Valley have spent months hovering around historic highs, while the COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc on the hospitality industry. 

Longmont’s median home sales price in March was $493,000, up from $455,940 a year ago, according to data from Information and Real Estate Services LLC. Much of the price increas along the Front Range can be attributed to historically low inventory.

Hotel occupancy rates in the city during February, the most recent data available, were a dismal 30.3%. That’s 50% lower than February 2020, the month when the emerging COVID-19 virus began worrying travelers. The industry’s woes are further exemplified by a lawsuit filed this month against the owner of Longmont’s new Hilton Garden Inn. Hall-Irwin Corp., a Milliken-based construction company, is suing Longmont Harvest Junction Hospitality LLC, a subsidiary of hotelier Cimarron Hospitality, for allegedly failing to pay $806,000 in bills.

LONGMONT — The Best Western Plus Plaza in Longmont, which has welcomed guests for nearly four decades, could be transformed into residential housing after this month’s sale of the 210-room inn to a developer specializing in transforming hotels into apartments. 

Vivo Apt Longmont LLC, a subsidiary of California-based Vivo Living, bought the 39-year-old Best Western Plus Plaza Hotel at 1900 Ken Pratt Blvd. from CO Hotel LLC, an affiliate of Chester, Virginia.-based Shamin Hotels, for $15.4 million. 

Shamin took over the property in 2018 from longtime and well-known owner Pratt Management Co. 

At the time, Shamin said it planned to renovate the hotel and the 36,000-square-foot Plaza Convention Center, which it had agreed to manage under a deal struck with owner Chernoff Boulder Properties LLC. But less than a year after taking over management duties, Shamin exercised a clause in its contract to stop managing the convention center, and bookings were halted. The convention center has remained closed and, despite cries from the community about the need for large-scale event space, Longmont has yet to replace it. 

The Best Western remains open and is accepting reservations. However, it’s unclear for how long.

According to Vivo Living’s website, the property will be rehabilitated and turned into apartments. 

Vivo, representatives of which did not respond to requests for comment Friday, has an in-house construction team that operates under a “hotels to homes” framework and “specializes in converting low-demand hotels to efficiency apartment complexes at market-rate pricing to renters while reducing traffic, waste and sprawl. Vivo is…