Prism Hotels & Resorts of Dallas will take over the management of the downtown Hilton Monday and decide within 60 days whether it will buy the property from Commercial Properties Realty Trust.
Mukul Verma, spokesman for Commercial Properties, said a management deal was signed about a week ago. Terms were not disclosed.
The hotel has been managed in-house since Commercial Properties terminated its contract with Ashby Hospitality in 2010. That dispute ended up in court and Ashby was awarded $2 million last year.
Verma said Commercial Properties, which was instrumental in renovating and opening the hotel, the former historical Capitol House, after it sat empty for decades, is now turning to its core business, which is real estate.
He said the hotel is turning a profit and referred questions about what’s next for the hotel to Prism, which was part of the team that redeveloped the hotel and managed the it briefly after it opened in 2006.
“They know the hotel well and they know Baton Rouge well,” Verma said.
Kevin Gallagher, senior vice president of Prism, said Prism is indeed considering a purchase, but he said that’s still a long ways out.
“We’re talking to them and we’ll be there Monday full time,” he said, noting Prism has always had a good relationship with Commercial Properties’ parent, The Baton Rouge Area Foundation.
“We’ve had a great working relationship with the foundation and ever since (the hotel’s grand opening) we’ve stayed in touch,” he said. “So we’re getting involved Monday as manager and in 60 days our due diligence will help BRAF decide what they want to do.”
Gallagher said guests should hardly notice any changes to the hotel or their experience there and that whatever happens, it should remain a Hilton.
Prism is primarily in the hotel management business, managing 57 hotels across the country and owning three of them.
Half of the hotels Prism manages came to it in receivership, though Gallagher and Verma said that part of Prism’s business is unrelated to it taking over management of the Hilton.
“This hotel is very healthy,” Gallagher said of the downtown Hilton.