Hotel, eatery holding on after sale in foreclosure

Published 12:30 am Saturday, February 19, 2011

Battlefield Inn begins a new, uncertain period today as it transitions from a bank foreclosure completed Friday.

The building that has housed 117 guest rooms, a restaurant, a lounge and several meeting rooms since the 1970s was purchased by Boston-based U.S. Bank National Association for $1 million. Previous ownership group HSG Hospitality defaulted on a $1.7 million loan it obtained when it bought the hotel in 2006 from longtime operator Warner Byrum.

Assurances had been made by the bank that a new management team had been identified, said Jeffrey McCaskill of Southaven law firm Baskin, McCarroll, McCaskill & Campbell, which conducted the sale on the Warren County Courthouse steps just after noon Friday.

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Jacques Parmegiani, operator of Jacques’ Cafe In The Park and its adjacent sports bar since the mid-1990s, said Friday it’s business as usual “until I hear something different.”

“We’ll wait for what the deal is for me,” said Parmegiani, whose lounge has hosted a wildly popular karaoke set to a packed house several nights a week for about 17 years.

Late Friday, general manager Alma Butler was alone behind the desk checking in guests at the I-20 Frontage Road hotel, which she said employs 13 in management and maintenance.

“I’ve been here 28 years,” Butler said. “I started out cleaning rooms. (HSG) said it would happen Friday, and that’s it.”

HSG was incorporated in 2006 in Florida. Its principal owner, Yogesh Patel, is also a listed partner in MY Investments LLC, which was created in 2003, according to the Business Services Division of the Secretary of State’s Office. The latter is the managing entity of the newly remodeled Holiday Inn on Cypress Centre Drive, having purchased it in 2010 following a foreclosure on the former Wingate by Wyndham.

More than $23,000 in delinquent property taxes on Battlefield for 2009 forced a bid at tax sale. County records show the property was redeemed by National Tax Search LLC, to the tune of $26,480.59, including interest and penalties.

Property records show the building was constructed in 1970. Byrum, who retired to Florida after he sold the hotel, had purchased the bulding in 1975 when it was a Ramada Inn. It lodged guests as Park Inn International for about 10 years, starting in the late 1980s. It has been the Battlefield Inn since the late 1990s, featuring photos of battle approaches during the Siege of Vicksburg and various other vintage Vicksburg scenes in the hotel’s lobby and hallways. Renditions of film legends Humphrey Bogart and Marilyn Monroe adorn the walls of the lounge.