WHEELING — The McLure Hotel property was sold at a public foreclosure auction Thursday morning to FA Management Corp Inc. and FG Management LLC — the previous owner of the hotel — with a credit bid of $5,668,000.
Frances Garey, president of Missouri-based companies FA Management Corp Inc. and FG Management LLC, appeared in Wheeling to submit what was the only bid for the property Thursday morning outside the Ohio County Courthouse, where replacement trustee, attorney David Delk, conducted a trustee’s sale on the property.
Roxby McLure LLC had purchased the historic downtown Wheeling hotel and its adjacent parking garage at an auction in 2021 with a bid of $6,245,000. This transaction was a seller-financed agreement, but Roxby reportedly only paid about $1 million before a myriad of financial problems led the embattled company to fall behind on payments.
Because there was an outstanding debt on the seller-financed agreement, Garey was able to submit a credit bid on the property — or as a creditor, a bid in the amount of what the company claims that Roxby still owes them.
“A trustee’s deed will be made with that upon what is credited,” Delk said following the sale Thursday, noting that Garey and her companies were expected to resume ownership of the hotel and garage properties by the end of business Thursday. “She’ll get the deed today.”
Garey noted that she had attempted to sell the property two years ago to a buyer who could fix up the hotel and guide the historic structure into a new future. Jeffrey Morris, president of Roxby Development and Roxby McLure LLC had initially shown promise to do so, but the situation went awry.
Following Thursday’s sale, Garey said she still hopes to find someone to take ownership of the building and its operations.
“I am trying to renovate some problems right now, but naturally I’m interested in financing it to the right buyer,” Garey said, indicating that she planned to conduct a more thorough vetting of the next potential owner. “I’m going to try to check it out a little better. That’s the idea of how I’m hoping to find a buyer that has extra money and spends it wisely on renovations.”
Garey indicated that the transition should be smooth, noting that operations at the hotel will continue since she indicated that she had already stepped in to keep the operation afloat even before she resumed ownership after the foreclosure sale Thursday.
“We’ll have almost the same employees,” she said. “In fact, I was called about 10 days ago and was informed that the management company that he had was leaving and that he did not have money for employees to continue operations. So I got on the first plane out here to do this.”
And hotel guests who have rooms booked at the McLure Hotel can rest assured that their rooms will be ready.
“Everybody is welcome to come on in,” she said.
Garey said her immediate plan on Thursday following the auction was to secure insurance for the properties.
“I’m going to look for that today, because I didn’t really own it until right now,” she said. “That’s kind of a big problem. I’m here keeping the doors open, but technically didn’t own it until now.”
FA Management Corp. Inc. had operated the McLure Hotel — formerly known as the McLure House on Market Street in the heart of downtown Wheeling — since April of 2007 until the summer of 2021 when Roxby took ownership.
Roxby immediately had the entire exterior of the building painted white, which gave it a noticeable pop downtown. Some room renovations and other improvements were also made during Roxby’s ownership. However, there eventually were a number of lawsuits filed by former employees and liens filed against the property for failure to pay employees for their work and contractors for their services – including the painting contractor. Tax liens were also placed on the properties for failure to pay taxes.
“I just need to find the right buyer who will do the right renovations and help give it a bright future,” Garey said.
Earlier this spring, a trustee’s notice of sale of the property was filed to foreclose on the property after Roxby failed to uphold the terms of the deed. Roxby McLure and Roxby Development had attempted to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, but a federal judge threw out Roxby’s cases based on the fact that no property insurance was in place to cover the McLure Hotel or the Scottish Rite Cathedral in East Wheeling – another historic property that had been acquired by Roxby in recent years.
A separate notice of trustee’s sale was filed to foreclose on the Scottish Rite building, as well. A public auction on that property has been scheduled to be held at 11 a.m. June 21 at the courthouse. Attorney David Croft on behalf of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite Bodies of Freemasonry of the City of Wheeling has led the foreclosure action on the Scottish Rite Cathedral. Croft had expressed concerns that the water had been shut off in the building and had been informed that the facility had been left unsecured. Croft recently indicated that he had the locks on the building changed to secure the building.
Roxby’s bankruptcy filings listed dozens of creditors to which the company was in debt to the tune of between $10 million and $50 million.
On Thursday night, Morris responded to the events that unfolded earlier in the day.
“This is a very sad day for me and for Wheeling,” Morris said. “I tried very hard for nearly two years to improve that hotel’s reputation and that of downtown in the process. Now, the hotel is owned again by the same owner that degraded it and siphoned money from it for 14 years, with no reinvestment … . I hope she is able to quickly find a buyer that will treat the property the way that I did and not turn it into another Wheeling Inn, again.”