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Catacombs closes, as Montvale keeps going, looking to become profitable

A bankruptcy court trustee has chosen a Spokane management firm to run the Montvale Hotel, the downtown Spokane boutique hotel saddled with more than $3 million in debts.

Rob Brewster, the owner of the Montvale at 1005 W. First Ave., filed for Chapter 11 reorganization in February.

Trustee David Gardner, an attorney with Spokane firm Winston & Cashatt, said he chose Hotel Market Solutions to manage the 36-room hotel and find a way to make it profitable again.

Hotel Market Solutions, with offices in the Paulsen Building, manages a number of regional hotels, including the former Howard Johnson at 211 S. Division, and a hotel in Post Falls.

Brewster, who is reeling from several downtown property foreclosures, bought the Montvale in 1998 and converted it into a stylish downtown hotel that honored its early 20th-century character.

Gardner said the Montvale bankruptcy’s secured debts come to roughly $3 million. Unsecured debts include nearly $140,000 the state says Brewster owes in back taxes.

Gardner said he chose HMS to manage the Montvale, at 1005 W. First, in large part because of the reputation of Fred Schoener, director of operations for HMS.

 “Fred has managed a number of local hotels and he understands the local market,” Gardner said.

HMS took over the Montvale in late April and is running the hotel with a full staff.

Gardner also said he’s not certain whether the hotel should be sold or if HMS should continuing running it.

If it remains unsold, he said the goal is to create a payment plan that directs the profits to its various creditors, said Gardner.

He also recently shut down the Catacombs Inn, the restaurant in the hotel’s lower level.

“I could not verify that there were any licenses (for the Catacombs) on record,” he said. As part of the reorganization, Gardner said he’ll consider reasonable offers from anyone wishing to buy the restaurant.

All other businesses in the hotel, including the eatery Scout, continue to operate normally.