The owner of the Parkway Plaza's mortgages bought the shut-down hotel for $15,500,000 at a Sheriff’s auction on Thursday.

Ronnie Lopez, the representative of Greenlake Real Estate Fund, LLC, submitted the only bid for the hotel owned by CRU Casper, LLC, and auctioneer Natrona County Sheriff's Deputy Jay Snider declared the auction closed.

The Pasadena, Calif.-based Greenlake Real Estate Fund, LLC, assumed the total $11.520,000 debt from the mortgages made to the Parkway's owner CRU Casper, plus the surrounding real estate and personal property.

The $15.5 million was part of the balance of $17,096,189.65 including mortgages, debts to the Internal Revenue Service, the State of Wyoming and other creditors, according to the Dec. 3 legal notice published in the Casper Star-Tribune. (Interest on the balance is accruing at a rate of $8,169.03 per day.)

Tom Morton, Townsquare Media
Tom Morton, Townsquare Media

After the sale, Lopez said he did not know what Greenlake intended to do with the property, which includes the hotel itself, additional buildings and the 20 acres at 1 Parkway Plaza Drive, formerly known as 123 W. E St.

The Natrona County Assessor has valued market value of the land at $1,014,530, the buildings at $7,215,530, and the personal property at $433,605.

Sheriff's auctions normally are small events in the outer lobby of the Townsend Justice Center with a few representatives of buyers and sellers present.

But the outer lobby was packed with those interested in the outcome including representatives of the City of Casper, the Casper Area Convention and Visitor's Bureau, and at least one real estate developer.

The interest and the auction appeared to end one chapter of the Parkway's history, with anyone's guess about its future.

The hotel opened in the mid-1960s as a Ramada near the North Center Street interchange of Interstate 25, and its was the largest hotel in Wyoming.

It went into a severe decline by the early 1990s when now Rep. Pat Sweeney (R-Casper) bought it and renovated it.

Sweeney sold the Parkway Plaza on a contract-for-deed basis in 2008 to the Houston-based Amidee Group, which in a year ran into such severe financial difficulties that it had trouble paying city utilities and eventually filed for bankruptcy protection.

Sweeney took possession of the property in 2009, and began renovating it again. But by then, organizations that sponsored major conventions there moved their events elsewhere, most notably the Little America Resort in Cheyenne.

In June 2015, CRU Casper, LLC -- a subsidiary of the Costa Mesa, Calif.-based CRU Real Estate Group. in Costa Mesa, Calif. -- bought it. Steven Senft of the the CRU Real Estate Group said then, "Our goal is to make it not only the premier hotel in Casper but in Wyoming."

That didn't happen.

It had numerous difficulties including bouncing payroll checks, and failing to pay taxes to the Wyoming Department of Revenue. Failure to pay unemployment insurance taxes resulted in the suspension of its liquor license several times.

On Oct. 31, the hotel's sales manager Tabitha Overgard said she received a call that morning to close the hotel including laying off about 50 employees, but declined to identify who called her or the new owners.

Overgard said the Parkway Plaza would be closed for six months and reopen with a new national owner.

However, the first legal ad for the auction appeared in the Casper Star-Tribune on Nov. 12.

In other words, there was no new owner then.

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