Development group wants to find a buyer for the Yorktowne Hotel
York County's Industrial Development Authority would like to avoid buying the Yorktowne Hotel, the authority's project manager, Blanda Nace, said on Wednesday.
"We are exploring multiple options," Nace said. "The IDA's goal is not to have to go in and operate a hotel."
Ideally, the IDA would like to find another buyer for the hotel. But buying the property is one option it is considering.
The IDA, which has taken on massive projects such as Santander Stadium and Marketview Arts, is "a facilitator of community and economic development that will build a stronger York County," Nace said.
The Yorktowne is one such project. Nace described the hotel as an anchor building, a destination to bring people into the city. The IDA has several physical improvements in mind, he said.
For sale: The Yorktowne Hotel has been listed for sale on the website of a property brokerage group called Hospitality Real Estate Counselors.
The current owner, Starwood Property Trust, is a global company based in Greenwich, Connecticut.
"(Starwood) has had the property listed for quite some time," Nace said.
"The current owner is not local," Nace said. "That's not a bad thing, but we think the property can be improved, and we're trying to make that happen."
Starwood bought the hotel from the York Hotel Group in 2011 at a sheriff's sale.
Nace believes the Yorktowne has lots of potential because of its history and location.
The 121-room hotel, which opened in 1925, has a spa, a restaurant and meeting facilities. At 48 E. Market St. it's close to downtown destinations such as galleries and stores in the up-and-coming Royal Square area, Continental Square, the Strand-Capitol Performing Arts Center and the Market District.
What could happen: If the IDA buys the hotel, it will have access to some state grants only available to municipalities and municipal authorities, Nace said.
If a private company buys the hotel, the IDA will stay involved in efforts to improve the property. It is discussing needed improvements and possibilities for the hotel with the property's current owners, Nace said.
If the IDA can find a good buyer for the hotel, said IDA chairman Jack Kay, the authority will serve as a facilitator in the property's improvement. The IDA's general objective, said Kay, is that the property stays a "full-service hotel, an attractive alternative to people coming to York, a safe and comfortable environment with amenities people want."
The IDA, which is in close contact with various local organizations, will assist the hotel's buyer in determining how best to serve the community, Kay said.
"The hope is that (the hotel) will continue to be a positive, well-liked asset," Kay said.
The IDA hopes the hotel is bought by a company whose intentions for the property align with its own.
"There have been examples in other communities where a historic hotel ceases to operate and goes dark. This would be extremely averse to the positive development going on downtown," he said.
— Reach Julia Scheib at firstname.lastname@example.org.