Earlier today, a Friend of Unfair Park sent the most curious heads-up: Something called LIG Assets Inc., a real-estate and oil-and-gas company fronted by an investor named Jeff Love, says it's going to rehab the Statler Hilton Hotel across from Main Street Garden. Love says on the LIG site that he will spend $18 mil on the historic, beleaguered hotel and has ambitious plans for its restoration: "It will be converted to affordable lofts, franchised restaurants, adult arcade and bowling alley." All on an expedited time line to boot -- within the next 24 months.
I called Love to see what the what but instead spoke with Geralyn DeBusk at Halliburton Investor Relations, which only today announced a partnership with LIG. DeBusk says Love is "working on that property" and that, yes indeed, it has "put out information" that it's snapping up the Statler, known at the end of its existence as the Grand. "The hope is that transaction will go through and they'll be able to develop it," she tells Unfair Park. "It'll be a wonderful thing for the city of Dallas and be wonderful for that part of downtown."
LIG also mentions that it's spending $2.5 on the Masonic Temple on Harwood, with plans for a "luxury movie tavern, with cafe and lounge."
Jasmim Jimenez, who handles investor relations for LIG, tells Unfair Park that the Statler is not purchased yet and that LIG's doing its due diligence. Which also goes for Far East Consortium, the Hong Kong-based company that owns the Statler.
Tom Keen, the Plano attorney repping the property's faraway owners, tells Unfair Park this evening that LIG is "going to make an offer," but hasn't yet. Regardless, he says, the property's going to move. One way or another. To someone. And within 90 days.
"Things are happening," he says. "There has been a change. The person who is in charge of this asset in Hong Kong has changed, and the new person has been charged with doing something -- either getting it sold or doing something. There's a pretty tight time frame, and something will happen. I know you've heard that before." He laughs. "The city's heard it before, but I am convinced. It's this new guy's job to do this, and he wants to look good."
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Just as Love is doing his due diligence, so too is Keen, who, of course, wants to make sure Love has the backing to make this thing go.
And if he doesn't, says Keen. "We have other people interested. As a matter of fact, the new manager was in town last week, and we met with a lot of people who expressed varying degrees of interest. But this is his job -- to find out if there are partners who want to take it on and get it done. And I hope we have some big news in the not-too-distant future -- as in, within the next 90 days."
Below is Jeff Love's bio, which DeBusk sent along:
President and CEO
LIG Assets, Inc. (Oil & Gas and Real Estate Investments)
In 2007, Jeff Love created a Dallas-based real estate investment company which purchased and sold homes throughout the United States. He chose to locate the company in the area of most revenue potential, targeting the Dallas and Houston areas. In the year of its inception, his company grossed over $20 million in sales. In 2008, sales were $15 million; the minor decline was due to factors in the broader economy.
Jeff spent much of the fourth quarter of 2008 developing a slightly different business model to compensate for changes in the marketplace. Later, in 2009, as a response to the failing market, the company shifted its focus from residential real estate to commercial and began due diligence on an oil and gas concession. In order to complete this business transition, Jeff formed a new entity, LIG Assets Inc., to approach the new market.
LIG became a proactive, focused exploitation and production company that is committed to employing technical and operational expertise in the geologic trends generating hydrocarbons for a demand-driven market while acquiring new concessions. The company's 2011 goal is to increase profit from 2007 levels by over 50%. The company expects to accomplish this goal through its strong financial position, its ability to leverage commercial real estate holdings, new upcoming oil and gas projects, and additional funding raised through a public offering of LIG Assets stock in July 2010. LIG Assets, Inc. now trades on the pink sheets under the symbol LIGA.