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June 7, 2017

Lewiston Ramada Inn sold for $4 million

Courtesy / Daigle Commercial Group
Courtesy / Daigle Commercial Group
The Lewiston Ramada Inn and Conference Center, at 490 Pleasant St., sold for more than $4 million on May 26.

A Massachusetts-based hotel investor group called Atithi LLC, which owns and operates a large portfolio of hotels under major brands, purchased the Ramada Inn & Conference Center in Lewiston for more than $4 million.

Roger Daigle, president of the Daigle Commercial Group in Portland and his associates, Mitchell Muroff and Nick Farrell, represented the seller, George Gendron, in the transaction. The group also found the buyer. The sale closed May 26.

The Ramada, which has 117 guest rooms and executive suites, is at 490 Pleasant St.

Buyers bullish on Maine's potential

Ashutosh Nayak, a New Jersey resident, is one of three partners who comprise Atithi LLC. He told Mainebiz the investor group owns a variety of businesses, including hotels in Massachusetts, New Jersey and New Hampshire. Atithi is building its first hotel, in New Hampshire.

The Ramada is the investor group's first venture in Maine.

"We wanted to expand in Maine and New Hampshire," Nayak said. "This location has potential." Nayak explained that the Ramada has its own niche in the mid-scale market that targets a huge customer base between lower-scale motel type of lodgings and luxury lodgings. The Lewiston facility, in particular, is uniquely positioned not only for its hotel rooms but for its huge conference center, banquet facility, restaurant and bar.

"We feel all the businesses combined complement each other," he said.

The investor group first looked at the property nine months ago, but kept the idea on hold as the construction project in New Hampshire unfolded. The group decided to actively pursue the property in January.

Nayak expressed appreciation to the city of Lewiston and to Mechanics Savings Bank in helping the investors close on the deal.

"We chose a local bank, and they've been great partners toward the process," he said.

Passion for the hospitality business

Originally from India, Nayak arrived in the United States with his partners when they were all students. In New York, he pursued an undergraduate degree in management information system technology, his other area of interest. His first job out of college was as a front desk clerk in a hotel, and he fell in love with the hospitality business.

"It's always been my passion to be in the hospitality business," he said. "It's my hobby also, because I travel a lot. I see hotels in the U.S., Europe and Asia. There's money there, but also it's the satisfaction that we can serve customers. We can be part of people's lives."

The Lewiston Ramada, employing up to 90 people, dates to 1974. The hotel is in good condition, but the group is planning some upgrades. Partial renovations, starting this year, include upgrades to the restaurant, banquet area, and 40 to 50 rooms, followed by upgrades to remaining rooms and the technology infrastructure. Nayak said he expects investment this year to be $500,000, and between $800,000 and $1 million in all.

The seller, George Gendron, is a well-known businessman in Lewiston, said Daigle. The Ramada was Gendron's only hotel property, acquired seven or eight years ago. At that time, said Daigle, the property was "in need of shoring up," so Gendron invested in improvements and stabilized operations. Daigle listed the property about a year ago, receiving interest from other buyers, but no takers until Atithi.

It's not unusual for a property like this to take a while to sell, Daigle said.

"This is not just a hotel. It's also a meeting and conference facility," he said, with 15,000 square feet of event space that can accommodate 600 conference or banquet guests, as well as amenities such as a restaurant, bar, fitness center, and gift shop. "They're known as full-service hotels in the industry, and that requires someone who has the right background, because a lot of business comes from weddings, conferences, and other events."

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