Grand Hotel now has Texas-based owner; rod run promoter hopes for partnership

Feb. 02, 2013 @ 01:44 PM

The Grand Hotel has changed hands again, this time involving two companies apparently based in Texas.

Ownership of the hotel, which is the largest one of the oldest in the city, has been tenuous at times since debtors foreclosed on owner Kenneth M. Seaton. In November, it appeared that Franklin LLC had the top bid in a foreclosure sale at the Sevier County Courthouse. But Lynn Tarpy, the trustee who oversaw the sale, said this week that Franklin did not complete the purchase of the property.

It appears that the Texas-based company that had acquired the debt on the property, DI-TN No. 2, LLC, then acquired the property when no bidder came forward to beat the $9.3 million figure.

This week, a new deed indicates that company sold the property to Kiwishe-Stoller Acquisition USA LP, a limited partnership also based in Texas, for $6.9 million. However, the deed calls for mail to be sent to the new owner at the Grand Hotel, and to send tax bills to an address in Knoxville.

A representative of the new owners said Friday they weren’t ready to release more information on their plans, but they hope to do so soon.

However, sources familiar with the new ownership said they intend to renovate the hotel and convention center and rename the facility.

The Grand Hotel is also the home of two of Pigeon Forge’s largest annual car shows, the Grand Rod Runs.

Show promoter Byron Cooper said they were talking to the new owners about the event’s future at that location, and hoped to have an announcement this week.

Advertisements running the last two weeks in The Mountain Press have announced going-out-of-business sales for the hotel's furniture and supplies.

The Grand Hotel was among the first in Sevier County to have a convention center in the same property, but its reputation declined in recent years, as illustrated in 2011 when it was listed as the dirtiest hotel in America on the TripAdvisor website.

In the meantime, DI-TN apparently sold another of Seaton’s old properties, the Family Inns West, for $1.9 million to another limited liability corporation, Perry Development of Pigeon Forge.

n jfarrell@themountainpress.com