The Parkway Plaza, long plagued by inept management and closed suddenly in October, will reopen later this summer as the Clarion Inn at Platte River, according to the president of the company that will operate it.

"This hotel was once a grand dame there, we'd like to bring it back to that," Deborah Cannon of the Atlanta-based CUSA, LLC, told K2 Radio on Thursday.

"One of the things we are known for in the industry is our ability to turn around struggling hotels -- hotels that have been, for whatever reason, neglected or haven't done well in their marketplaces," Cannon said.

"So when we see something like this, we see it as a wonderful opportunity to bring back to this community what was once there," she said.

The hotel at 123 E. St., opened in the mid-1960s as a Ramada, and was the largest hotel in Wyoming at the time.

After a long decline by the early 1990s, now Rep. Pat Sweeney (R-Casper) bought it and renovated it.

In 2008, Sweeney sold it on a contract-for-deed basis to the Houston-based Amidee Group, which ran into financial difficulties and eventually filed for bankruptcy protection.

Sweeney took possession of the property in 2009, and began renovating it again.

Four years ago, he sold it to a subsidiary of the Costa Mesa, Calif.-based CRU Real Estate Group. Despite the company's promise to turn it into a "four star hotel," it also ran into financial problems including bounced payroll checks and failure to pay taxes.

On Oct. 31, the hotel's sales manager Tabitha Overgard said she received a call to shut it down and lay off about 50 employees.

The property was sold in December to the Pasadena, Calif.-based Greenlake Real Estate Fund, LLC, and renovations began.

The new owner and CUSA entered a franchise agreement with Clarion Hotels, a full-service hotel brand affiliated with Choice Hotels, Cannon said. Full-service means a hotel has food and beverage service and banquet and meeting space, she said.

The hotel will have 198 rooms renovated to Clarion's specifications, 42,000 square feet of convention space, and have a modified version of the All That Jazz nightclub.

The Old Town area with its putt-putt golf course will reopen, too, Cannon said. "That enjoys quite a good little reputation with the community, and we want to continue that."

The hotel initially will hire with 30 to 40 employees, and will add up to another 20 after it opens, according to an email from Overgard. The hotel will hold a job fair at the hotel site from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on June 1, she added.

"We see it as an opportunity," Cannon said. "Casper is a wonderful market. We love the people there."

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