Sale of venerable Biltmore nears

Richard L. Brush, dean of the hospitality college at Johnson & Wales University, knows a lot about the Providence Biltmore Hotel. More

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HOSPITALITY & TOURISM

Sale of venerable Biltmore nears

PBN PHOTO/MICHAEL PERSSON
EXTENDED STAY: Richard L. Brush, a Johnson & Wales dean, at the Providence Biltmore Hotel. Like his father before him, Brush served as general manager of the hotel. The Biltmore is now in receivership.
Posted 12/5/11

Richard L. Brush, dean of the hospitality college at Johnson & Wales University, knows a lot about the Providence Biltmore Hotel.

Beginning when he was a toddler in the late 1940s, he’s spent lots of time there.

His father, Robert Brush, was general manager when the Biltmore was one of only a handful of hotels in the country owned by the fledgling Sheraton Corp., which had just been established in 1937. The Biltmore was then “considered one of the great hotels in the nation,” Brush recalled.

Earlier this year owners of the 89-year-old city landmark, weighed down by $30 million in debts, entered receivership. The property is now close to being sold for $18 million to a Massachusetts-based hotel-management company, Linchris Hotel Corp. of Hanover.

Linchris has created a new entity, Providence Hospitality LLC based in Delaware, to acquire the Biltmore, according to Glenn Gistis, Linchris chief financial officer. A hearing to decide the sale is scheduled for Dec. 9 in Superior Court in Providence.

Linchris provides management services to approximately 25 hotels on the East Coast, most in New England but none in Rhode Island, working with such brand names as Best Western, Hilton, Holiday Inn, Hampton Inn and Comfort Inn. Among the hotels closest to Rhode Island that Linchris manages are the Doubletree in Milford, Mass., the Holiday Inn in Mansfield, Mass., and the Best Western in Boston. Linchris officers are partners in 75 percent of the hotels the company manages, according to its website (www.linchris.com).

Linchris representatives did not immediately return several phone calls last week to discuss their plans for the Biltmore; Glenn Gistis said he could not discuss the company’s plans.

The Biltmore entered state receivership early in 2011, but has remained open for business.

Providence attorney Richard L. Gemma was appointed master of Historic Hotel Partners of Rhode Island LP, owner of the Biltmore and its affiliated catering company, Cornerstone Catering LLC, shortly after HHP entered receivership. The local hotel company has an aggregate debt of about $30 million, Gemma told Providence Business News, both secured and unsecured.

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