Clermont Motor Hotel

ATLANTA-A grassroots effort is under way locally to save the Clermont Motor Hotel, known more for its entertainment value than historic status, from foreclosure. The 129-key structure, which occupies just over an acre along Ponce de Leon Avenue, is currently scheduled for a July 7 auction at the Fulton County Courthouse.

Locally based Inman Park Properties, which bought the 85-year-old hotel in 2003 and is now in default on its loan with New York City-based Fairway Capital, has had the Clermont on the market for the past few months at $6.5 million. Both sides are reportedly negotiating an agreement that will remove the property from the foreclosure rolls.

“The owner and lender are working together to try to take it off the auction,” Gene Kansas, an Atlanta broker and developer currently marketing the property, tells GlobeSt.com. “Certainly it’s in the owner’s best interest.”

John Mansour, an attorney with Atlanta-based Ayoub & Mansour LLC who represents Fairway Capital, says there is “a good chance” of holding off foreclosure on the 88,000-square-foot hotel. Efforts to reach Inman Park were unsuccessful.

The Clermont, a no-frills hotel offering room rates as low as $35 per night, is likely better known for its basement strip club and an adjoining bar featuring live music and deejays. Celebrities visiting Atlanta are as likely to stop in as local residents, and the club has been featured in Playboy, Esquire and Stuff magazines.

The pending auction isn’t necessarily hurting Kansas’ efforts to market the hotel, he says. Publicity is growing and a documentary on the Clermont is already in the works.

“I think it helps because you’re going to have a more motivated seller from a time perspective and more people know about it,” Kansas says. “We may be able to consummate a deal more quickly.”

Furthermore, Kansas has launched a design competition for the Clermont, inviting artists and architects to decide what should become of the hotel. A $1,000 cash prize and other giveaways are being offered, with the winner to be announced during a party July 30 at the hotel’s lounge.