Phoenix Inn Hotel sells for $1.94 million

By Robin K. Cooper –  Reporter, Albany Business Review

Feb 5, 2023

A father-and-daughter investment team from Chelsea, Massachusetts, have purchased the Phoenix Inn Hotel in North Creek for $1.94 million, marking the second ownership change for the Adirondacks resort in three years.

Buhai Ren and his daughter, Zihan “Hannah” Ren, acquired the 31-room hotel from Diana Espalza. The transaction closed Feb. 1. Broker Mitch Muroff of Muroff Hospitality Group represented the seller and secured the buyer.

The acquisition was financed with a mortgage through Celtic Bank Corp. of Salt Lake City, Utah.

The 2.33-acre resort, located 3 miles north of Gore Mountain Ski Resort, features close to 7,500 square feet of meeting, restaurant and event space including a ballroom for up to 300 guests.

“We had three or four serious inquiries in a relatively short amount of time,” Muroff said. “A few offers came in after the property already was under contract.”

Muroff listed the Phoenix Inn for sale June 15 and the Ren family signed a letter of intent to buy the property three months later.

Formerly known as the Copperfield Inn Resort, the boutique hotel underwent more than $1 million in renovations after Espalza bought the property in December 2019 from Michael Ellis and Copperfield Resorts LLC.

Espalza grew up in Colombia and spent 15 years operating a restaurant, bar and catering business while living in Queens before purchasing the North Creek resort. She took over operations in December 2019, three months before the Covid-19 pandemic forced businesses across New York into temporary shutdown.

“There is tremendous room for growth with the proper sales force and food and beverage professionals,” Muroff said.

The hotel’s proximity to downhill and cross country skiing help make North Creek a year-round destination, yet the area lacks large hotels, Muroff said.

“There really aren’t enough hotel rooms in the market,” he said.

The buyers, who were not immediately available for comment, live north of Boston and own other real estate investments. They plan to operate the Phoenix Inn using a model similar to the one Espalza developed, focusing on wedding and corporate events to supplement leisure travel business.

In addition to saunas and a fitness center, the property also includes a restaurant, a tavern and a swimming pool.

It is the latest evidence that interest in hotel investments throughout the Adirondacks remains strong despite a string of eight federal interest rate hikes over the past year.

“We are not seeing signs of a slow down,” said real estate attorney Jon Lapper, a principal with Bartlett Pontiff Stewart & Rhodes PC in Glens Falls. Lapper represented the Rens in the Phoenix Inn acquisition.

One potential market shift Muroff is seeing is that more developers recognize is that it makes more sense financially to buy existing hotels and renovate them than it does to build from scratch.

“Banks are asking for more and more equity and more guarantees they may not have been asking for a few years ago,” Muroff said.

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