Lord Baltimore will continue operations

January 29, 1992|By Timothy J. Mullaney

The Radisson Plaza Lord Baltimore Hotel will continue normal operations despite being sold Monday to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., and it is expected to turn a profit this year for the first time since it was renovated in the mid-1980s, the FDIC and hotel officials said yesterday.

"We have no plans to mothball it," said FDIC spokesman David Barr. "We're projecting that it can make a profit in 1992 and beyond."

The hotel's general manager, Rick Guttenberger, said the hotel's occupancy rate rose to 44 percent last year -- well below the citywide average but still well above the 34 percent posted in 1990.

Mr. Guttenberger works for a hotel management company that began running the landmark hotel in January 1991 and has since beefed up the hotel's sales staff. The Lord Baltimore has 200 full-time employees.

"Just getting a fair shake of the market would lead you to get 65 to 70 percent" occupancy, he said. "The hotel had not performed well since it reopened in 1986, and it should have. Baltimore is a relatively healthy market for hotels."

The FDIC and management hope that the 66-year-old, 440-room hotel can push its occupancy rate above 50 percent this year.

For most hotels, even a 50 percent occupancy probably wouldn't yield a profit, Mr. Barr and Mr. Guttenberger said.

But the Lord Baltimore has a big advantage after Monday's auction: It has no mortgage, since the FDIC will pay the $6.85 million sale price in cash.

"If the hotel had interest on a $15 million mortgage to pay, it would be tough," Mr. Guttenberger said.

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