LIBERTY - There was a time when the Metroplex off Interstate 80 was bustling with guests. There were periods of poker games. Then there were a few lawsuits, foreclosures, bankruptcy.
Today, the site is mostly empty and on the auction block.
Bids will start at $750,000 on Nov. 13 for the 153-room location, also known as the Rodeway Inn.
Tribune Chronicle / Margaret Thompson
The Rodeway Inn and Metroplex in Liberty is being put up for sale in an online auction with bids starting at $750,000.
"This is good. We were stuck there for about three years,'' township Administrator Pat Ungaro said. ''It's a beautiful facility with so much potential right by the interstate.''
It is potential that has piqued interest of buyers in the past.
The hand-me-down history of the 11-acre property began with its exit from the Holiday Inn chain more than seven years ago. Late area businessman Ray Travaglini purchased the location at auction in 2008 with a winning $2.75 million bid. At the time, he was expected to pump $5 million into renovations to restore the facility as an operating hotel.
"He knew how to have a classy place," Ungaro said.
Travaglini became ill shortly after the auction and passed away. His vision was left by the wayside.
In 2010, the location held a brief stint as a poker club, but was shut down amid questions of whether the gambling laws permitted the operation.
The site has been quiet ever since, besides a small restaurant operation.
"The auction is going to be online, so it might open up the marketplace," Ungaro said.
With CBRE Inc. holding the online auction for a two-hour period, bidders won't be playing around with an initial deposit of $40,000 required to enter the contest.
Ungaro said the site will take a fair amount of maintenance and changes to bring up up to regulations, by that it will be another opportunity to revitalize Belmont Avenue, which is already home to a handful of other hotels.
"There are half a dozen or so other projects getting close to a state that I can comment on," he said about the area.
In particular, a Comfort Suite is being replotted with a banquet hall to hold 500 and 90 suites, and there also has been interest in the Liberty Plaza area.