The Parkway Plaza has a new owner as of Thursday, and will have a multimillion dollar makeover by this time next year, its owner's principal partner said Friday.

"Our goal is to make it not only the premier hotel in Casper but in Wyoming," Steven Senft, of the Costa Mesa, Calif.-based CRU Real Estate Group, which is the parent company of CRU Casper LLC.

Senft declined to reveal the purchase price. The Natrona County Assessor has assigned a market value of nearly $7 million to the land, buildings and personal property.

The possibility of the sale became known a few weeks ago when the Casper City Council scheduled a public hearing, and then approved the transfer of the liquor license to CRU Casper LLC from Pat Sweeney's Hospitality Development Corp.

Sweeney, Senft said, has done a lot in recent years but unfortunately ran out of the money to do a full-scale remodel.

"We're able to go in there to take it really to the next level, along with the renovation, bring that service scale up there as well, and we're really going to go for a four-star hotel," he said.

A "four-star hotel" includes service, Internet and technology for rooms and conventions, new beds and ergonomic chairs in the rooms, and bathrobes in the bathrooms, he said.

There will be some obvious major changes such as a new parking lot within the next month and the lobby, Senft said.

But there have been no changes in personnel, he said.

Nor will CRU Casper LLC fix what's not broken such as the popular All That Jazz nightclub with its live music, he said. "It's one of the coolest bars I've ever been to.... Without a doubt the bands will continue Friday nights."

Senft is aware of the disastrous events starting in December 2008 when the Houston-based Amidee Hotels and Resorts bought the Parkway from Sweeney.

Amidee ran the Parkway into the ground by bouncing utility checks, not paying contractors, and not paying sales and unemployment insurance taxes to the state. In early 2010, Amidee filed for bankruptcy. Hundreds of investors lost nearly $3.6 million after buying worthless bonds.

Meanwhile, the carpets reeked of mildew, the rooms featured unfinished repairs, and disgruntled organizations such as the Wyoming Stock Growers Association took their business elsewhere.

Sweeney got the property back iin July 2010 because he had sold it on a contract-for-deed basis, which allows a seller to regain ownership if the buyer doesn't meet obligations in the agreement.

Thursday's sale was for a permanent warranty deed, Senft said.

The CRU Real Estate Group, now has 10 hotels with about 1,800 rooms, with the Parkway being their largest hotel, Senft said.

With its financial backing and interest in creating a four-star hotel, he will work bring back these organizations and business, he said.  "We truly are not going to sleep until the fact we are the premier hotel in Casper."

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