Inner Circle Investments, a Florida company with experience in owning and managing downtown hotels, has a contract to buy Radisson Paper Valley Hotel.
Mayor Tim Hanna said Inner Circle is willing "to put a significant amount of money into this property to modernize it." He also said the company is anxious to negotiate an agreement with Appleton for the management of the proposed $27 million Fox Cities Exhibition Center, which would be built across from the hotel on West Lawrence Street.
"I don't anticipate a lot of problems being able to work out a management agreement with this new owner," Hanna said during a news conference Tuesday afternoon. "I think this brings some certainty to one of those things that was uncertain about the exhibition center project."
Hanna said the sale of the hotel will occur within the next two weeks. The purchase price was not disclosed.
Inner Circle is based in Ormond Beach, Fla., and is led by founder and CEO Joseph Gillespie. The company owns and operates full-service hotels throughout the country. Many of the Inner Circle hotels carry the Radisson brand.
"We have been impressed with the response that we've received from the Fox Cities communities," Gillespie said in a statement, "and we look forward to becoming an integral part of the community and providing a hotel the community will be proud of."
Gillespie said the company plans to upgrade the property "in keeping with the high standards of the Radisson name."
As part of sale, the city has been asked to extend two leases with the hotel — one for the use of the Red parking ramp and one for the use of the skywalk that links the ramp and the hotel.
The Common Council will consider the lease extensions Wednesday.
Hanna said the city has been waiting for the right buyer to take control of the hotel.
"The Paper Valley is an important business for the Fox Valley and an important part of our plans to build an exhibition center, which should make our community a key destination for businesses seeking a first-rate conference center," he said.
LNR Partners, a Miami-based group of investors, acquired the hotel in early 2013 for $17.1 million. It put the hotel up for auction in December. The property drew a top bid of $17.6 million but didn't sell because the reserve was not met.