The Atomic City Hotel, formerly known as the Hilltop House Hotel is back on the market again with two potential buyers. Photo by Maire O’Neill/losalamosreporter.com
BY MAIRE O’NEILL
The former Hilltop House Hotel is on the market again, local commercial real estate broker Terry Salazar confirmed Wednesday.
The property, located at 411 Trinity Drive, was purchased in July 2015 by Atomic City Investors and renamed the Atomic City Hotel. Prior to that, the property went into foreclosure in the fall of 2012 and during a public auction in March 2013, Los Alamos National Bank entered a cash bid of $2.9 million and took over the hotel as well as the adjacent gas station and convenience store.
For the past four years, although committed to reopening the hotel, ACI has struggled to meet Los Alamos County health and safety code requirements for the hotel. When it was previously occupied, the hotel was deemed dangerous because it lacked a fire suppression system and the walls between the east and west side rooms needed to be fortified to stop the possible spread of fire from one side to the other. A fire watch program was in effect 24 hours a day requiring an employee to physically walk the property every 20 minutes until a fire suppression system was installed, however, that system has yet to be installed.
Following an action by the County in Municipal Court, ACI repaired the roof, however other conditions of concern still exist. ACI has been told that the windows in the enclosed hallways need to be removed, the elevator needs to be replaced and extensive work is needed on the stairways inside the building. The County says the conference room floor is spongey and there have been concerns about the strength of the floor in the restaurant area.
Salazar told the Los Alamos Reporter Wednesday afternoon that the property has been on the market for about two weeks and that he already has two potential buyers. He said feasibility studies are being conducted and that commercial property sales such as this one can take from six months to a year to complete.
Los Alamos County Council Chair Sara Scott said Thursday morning that she is very excited that the property is on the market.
“The Council is working very hard to address the vacant properties in town,” she said.