With the threat of foreclosure now ended, the Omni International complex, one of the nation's most ambitious office-hotel-trade centers, is on the way to refinancing approximately $90 million in loans, the president of the center said recently.
"We're on the road to a permanent solution," said Stephen Brown, who heads the operation.
"I really feel the battling is over."
Twice this year, lenders have threatened to offer the complex for sale on the steps of the Fulton County (Altanta) Courthouse, in the time-honored tradition of sheriffs' jeopardy sales.
However, the gradual improvement in downtown Atlanta office rentals, along with other factors, has given Omni International an operating profit, Brown said in an interview.
Brwo said the 80 percent of the center's 489,000 square feet of office space and 70 percent of the 200,000 square feet for retail shops and restaurants now are under contract.
The center, which opened in 1975, also has a 471-room hotel, a 95,000-square-foot exhibition hall and 150,000 square feet of "indoor park" space that was used by the now-defunct amusement facility created by entertainers Sid and Marty Krofft.
The financial stability of the Omni International complex was shaken when retail revenues were insufficient to meet the interest and principal repayment obligations of construction and interim loan agreements, Brown said.
Now, revenues exceed operating costs, interest, and principal payments, but refinancing is needed to accommodate the missed payments from the earlier lean period, he said.
"We're in good shape now. We're paying our bills," Brown said.
The permanent financing will attempt to reorganize the $90 million in existing debt, which represents about 90 percent of the original investment. The money was extended by a consortium of lenders, led by Morgan Guaranty Trust Co. of New York, with Citibank of New York, Continental Illinois Bank of Chicago and the First National Bank of Atlanta being the other major partners.
Brown said the lenders have agreed to a minimum of six months, more if needed, to complete agreements for permanent financing.