There’s bad news and good news in the recent announcement that a credit agency has lowered its rating on some of the bonds from the convention headquarters hotel.
The bad news is obvious: the hotel (actually two hotels, both named Renaissance)has not done as well as its owners expected — and its reserve fund is nearly spent. It seems likely that its owners will try to restructure its financing in the next month or two.
But, there is good news, too. The Renaissance is a great hotel that has been doing better every year since it opened. It already makes enough money to operate. Its ownership group includes a strong company. And its operator, Marriott, has done a very good job marketing the hotel during the weak convention market since 9/11. The Renaissance has become a first-choice destination for convention visitors, business travelers, and locals. Even if there is a change in ownership (almost all of the Downtown hotels have changed hands at least once), it will remain open as a convention center hotel.
These strengths combined with reforms at the St. Louis Convention & Visitors Commission, improving conditions at Lambert Airport, and downtown’s continuing revitalization are reasons for cautious optimism.
All sides are talking.