Capital City hotel up for sale

Interested in purchasing one of Jefferson City’s mainstay hotels at a recently reduced price?

The owners of the Truman Hotel and Conference Center have been trying to find a buyer, and they’ve reduced the asking price from about $1.95 million to $1.775 million. The Cole County Assessor’s Office said the 2012 assessed value is $4 million.

The sale includes the 233-room hotel and 24,000 square feet of meeting space in 14 different rooms, as well as the 9-acre lot fronting U.S. 54. It also includes the hotel’s restaurant, Bingham’s. The sale does not include Truman 4 Theatres, a second-run movie theater beside the hotel.

Kansas-based Leisure Real Estate Advisors, which specializes in selling hotels, has been listing Truman for the past six months. Brent Jaynes, a real estate agent for the company who is listing the property, said he’s seen considerable interest, especially since there is potential seller-financing available.

“It’s a great piece of dirt,” Jaynes said. “It also could work for various hotel uses, probably not as it certainly is configured now, but subdivided into two (hotels) or reduced to one with vacant parcels ... .”

He said the site is attractive because of its central location, which is elevated and offers good visibility, and its close proximity to downtown.

He said the site also could be redeveloped into a big box store with leftover room for restaurants or retail shops.

In part, the listing summary for the property reads: “This iconic Jefferson City hotel has been able to produce a significant income stream over the years, and still holds its own, even with the newer competition. The current business model offers a less expensive alternative to the full service hotels in the area, and the hotel has been able to maintain this niche.”

The owners of Truman Hotel are St. Louis attorneys Christian Peper Jr. and Rex Bertram, who didn’t return a call for comment. Tom Simon, who was another part-owner, died last year.

Formerly a Ramada Inn, the hotel has a long history in Jefferson City. Bingham’s restaurant, known for its steaks and pastas, has a private “Churchill Room” that’s ventilated for cigar smokers. The Library Lounge, the hotel’s bar, has been a frequent watering hole for locals as well as legislators and lobbyists. For nearly four decades until last year, local pianist Mike Michelson played to the nightly crowds.

In the 1990s, a proposal was made by the owners of the then-Ramada Inn to build a convention center on the site. The city again is in the process of seeking a conference center developer and a site.

City Administrator Nathan Nickolaus said the city has talked about the site before, though none of the three developers who have submitted proposals have specifically identified the site.

“It’s possible that one of them is talking to Ramada,” Nickolaus said. “It is a big location.”

Staff writer Madeleine Leroux contributed to this report.

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