Amid a sea of debt and a pile of civil lawsuits, the former Hotel Acadiana on Pinhook Road, now the Crowne Plaza, is prepping for the return of Scandals night club.
Crowne Plaza’s owner, Zeus Investments of Houston, is the target of at least 15 civil lawsuits filed in state district court, all for money owed to various companies that helped with the hotel’s extensive renovations when it upgraded to a Crowne Plaza.
The most recent lawsuit, filed Jan. 27 by St. Martin Bank against Zeus Investments, is seeking to seize the hotel as collateral for falling behind on a more than $12 million loan. A source close to the bank tells The Independent Weekly five banks teamed up on the loan, but it is unclear which banks are involved and whether they are local. That source also says Crowne Plaza has been trying to catch up on its payments.
St. Martin Bank President Paul Durand did not return phone calls for comment.
Crowne Plaza General Manager Jeff Keefe responded to questions about the lawsuits and the company’s financial standing in a prepared statement, citing several “challenges” the hotel has faced since it was upgraded, including “a longer than anticipated renovation due to contractor fraud, additional hotels being built in the Lafayette market and the direct impact the BP oil spill and drilling moratorium has had on our local economy.”
Keefe did not confirm whether the hotel plans to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy to handle the debts, but says “Zeus Investments LLC is working towards restructuring its organization and its current debt structure.”
“The hotel owners have made several changes over the past six months to include hiring a new management company and several key employees which is having a positive impact on the hotel’s ability to provide superior service,” he said in the statement. “The hotel is also proud to announce that it has entered into a lease with a local businessman to re-open Scandals Night Club, which will feature local entertainers and celebrities playing all your favorite dance music.”
According to the “Official Scandals Nite Club of Lafayette” Facebook page, Scandals owner Rick Broussard expects the club to reopen in coming weeks:
Scandals will feature an old school dance club Venue, a smoke-free environment, with local entertainers and celebrities playing all your favorite Dance Music from a time that many locals fondly remember and some that have never experienced ... will never forget!
We are proud to be located in the elegant and newly renovated Crowne Plaza Hotel, an undiscovered jewel of the hotel community in Lafayette.
Acadiana, forget everything you knew about the past, the location may be the same, but I can assure you that the hotel is not as it was.
Read more about Crowne Plaza’s financial troubles and the reopening of Scandals in the next issue of ABiz
, due on newsstands March 30.