The Mid-Town Hotel New Orleans, located on 3900 Tulane Avenue, is back on the market after being bought just a year ago by an out-of-state hospitality company that promised to “turn around” the property’s negative image.
Last October, the Arizona-based M&S Hospitality company purchased the building, which had long been cited by the New Orleans Police Department as one of several in the area that had been a destination for sex workers and other illegal activity, according to several articles by NOLA.com|The Times Picayune.
Marvin Dodd, the hotel’s owner, bought the property for $1.7 million last October after operating it under a 10-year lease since 2010. He said then that he hoped to upgrade the 102-room hotel and turn it in to a national franchise brand, according to NOLA.com.
Now, a listing with the Louisiana Commercial Database shows that just a year later, the building, located between South Pierce and South Scott streets, is on the market for $3.8 million. And, contrary to what had previously been reported, at least one member of the Mid-City Neighborhood Organization sees the move as a “flip,” rather than as an investment that helped the surrounding area in any sort of long-term fashion.
During an interview, Dodd agreed that the reason for buying the Tulane Avenue hotel was primarily as an investment, and that he was interested in buying property in other areas of New Orleans.
“With the current growth in New Orleans, I want to expand,” Dodd said. “I like the downtown area. Eventually that’s where I want to go.”
Calling the turnaround sale “an investment opportunity,” Dodd added that he was able to acquire a franchise for the Mid-Town Hotel location, and that the franchise would be sold along with the hotel. Even though it’s already on the market, however, he plans to to finish getting it remodeled before a sale goes through.
“I want to get it where it needs to be,” Dodd said, adding that once it’s fully remodeled he could up the asking price.
The hotel is in the middle of an “up-and-coming” new area, thanks to the development of two new hospitals, the listing points out. The 34-acre, $1.2 billion University Medical Center complex promises to anchor a new biomedical district and attract top medical professionals, and the new Veterans Affairs Hospital will be situated right next door.
Before Dodd’s company took it over, the hotel was previously called Quality Inn Midtown and was owned by a company called Mustard Seed Holdings LLC. The hotel’s owner received several citations prior to 2010 for minimum property maintenance, according to city records.
Now, Dodd says that he’ll be leaving the hotel better off than when he bought it.
“I’m getting the hotel stabilized,” he said.
Not everyone was excited about Dodd’s investment decision, however. Roux Merlo, a member of the Mid-City Neighborhood Organization, thinks the hotel’s sale will benefit Dodd, but may not actually help the neighborhood at all.
“A year ago he spoke of changes he would make at the hotel. He said he was in talks with a restaurant operator to open a fine restaurant,” Merlo said. “He said he was going to invest in improvements. I doubt he’s spent a significant amount. Today, a year after, what we have is the hotel back on the market, way over priced, and little changes, if any.”