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Atlanta landmark Clermont Hotel sold

7:03 PM, Jan 9, 2013   |    comments
Courtesy of Atlanta Business Chronicle
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ATLANTA, Ga. -- Atlanta's Clermont Hotel, a city landmark best known for its bawdy basement lounge, has been sold.

Clermont Hotel Partners LLC, a partnership whose principals include Philip Welker and Ethan Orley, purchased the property on Ponce de Leon Avenue.

They did not release the sales price.

Welker and Orley plan to redevelop the Clermont as a boutique hotel. While the hotel's strip club - the oldest in Atlanta that often attracts big-name celebrities - won't see immediate changes, its future will become clear once Welker and Orley solidify their redevelopment plans.

Welker and Orley are with with the real estate firm BNA Associates, whose offices are in Nashville and New York.

The partnership could decide on a major renovation of the Clermont Lounge, though exactly what's in store for the strip club is unclear.

"There's a lot more [about the plans] that we'd like to get out, but it's really not the right time to comment on the Clermont Lounge," Orley told Atlanta Business Chronicle. "I'd rather make a comment when we are ready in the next couple of weeks."

The Clermont is an intriguing property for more than its lounge. It's located in Poncey-Highland, an intown neighborhood that draws young urban professionals and that's still rough around the edges, with hipster retailer Urban Outfitters, the historic Plaza Theatre and tattoo parlors. Poncey-Highland sits between other hot intown neighborhoods including Inman Park, Virginia-Highland and Old Fourth Ward, where investors have been pouring money into new apartments and mixed-use projects including Ponce City Market.

The Clermont was sold by Fairway Capital, after being put on the market in 2010.

It was built in the 1920s as apartments and converted to a hotel in the 1940s. Its iconic club on the bottom level has been in operation for nearly 50 years, said Jake Reid, of Franklin Street Real Estate Services, which represented Fairway Capital in the sale.
"The Clermont represents a unique opportunity for the investors to refurbish a landmark property and embrace the 1920s architecture and charm," he said.

Welker said "We are thrilled to have the chance to reimagine The Clermont as a great hotel. We truly believe it represents one of the best opportunities in Atlanta. The property has all the right ingredients to become not only a destination boutique hotel for Atlanta, but for the Southeast."

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