Hilton sale, hotel construction good signs for downtown BR
BATON ROUGE - Hospitality industry experts see good things in Baton Rouge's future, after the recent sale of the Hilton Hotel downtown.
Prism Hotels and Resorts, a management group, purchased the Hilton for about $40 million. Experts said they don't expect big changes at the well-known property in the wake of the sale.
"The management will remain very, very upscale...very much the same. This is the same company that managed the hotel from the very beginning," said Paul Arrigo, CEO for the Baton Rouge Area Convention and Visitors Bureau.
Arrigo said the fact that a private company purchased the hotel is also a good sign.
"It's exciting that a management company would invest in the property," he said. "Normally, management companies manage property that are owned by other entities."
This sale comes as a fourth hotel, the Hampton Inn and Suites, is being built in the downtown area. Davis Rhorer, the director of the Downtown Development District, said the extra hotel rooms aren't in danger of sitting empty because they're sitting in the middle of the action in Baton Rouge.
"My goal is to have a thousand hotel rooms within walking distance of the River Center... which is the source of a a lot of activity for the convention business, bringing in new money to the city," Rhorer said.
Visitors agree that the walking-distance locations of Baton Rouge's downtown hotels are a big plus. Garrett Freeman of Louisville, Kenn. says that's just what he found on his visit.
"Everything is pretty much in walking distance. Everything is right on the river," he said. "If you really want to go and visit things, it's pretty much at arms reach. You don't have to go far."