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Highland Hotel sells
Convention center deal still in the works
new deh convention center pic
The Highland Hotel, seen in the background, has been sold. A deal for the city to take over the convention center is nearly complete. - photo by Tribune file photo

The Great Bend Chamber of Commerce is holding a news conference at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday at the chamber’s Spray-Holt Family Board Room, 1125 Williams. The topic is the sale of the Highland Hotel.

The Highland Hotel is now under new ownership. The hotel portion of the Highland Hotel and Convention Center was sold to Ambika Enterprises in a deal that was finalized Tuesday, according to a letter from the property’s management company.
Farmers Bank and Trust of Great Bend owned both the hotel and convention center, located at 3017 West 10th in Great Bend. The sale involves the hotel portion of the facility only. The convention center and office complex is currently still owned by Farmers.
However, in June, the Great Bend City Council approved utilizing $500,000 donated by an anonymous group of local residents to purchase the convention center. The funds are being handled through the Great Bend Foundation.
The paper work for the city deal has not been signed, but could be finalized in a week or two, said Gene Dikeman, Farmers Bank president.
Ambika was registered with the Kansas with the Secretary of State’s Office Aug. 11. Tejal Patel said she and her husband Amarish, will manage the Highland for his grandfather Ishwar Patel who is the one buying the hotel. Together, they make up Ambika Enterprises.
Tejal and Amarish have been Kansas residents for nine years, currently residing in Concorida. The grandfather lives in Vancouver, Canada.
Tejal said there are no immediate plans to change staffing at the Highland. They are, however, eying come improvements to the property.
Ambika also has hotels in Concordia and Beatrice, Neb.
 The 172-room Highland sits on roughly 6.3 acres and encompasses 87,275 square feet and includes the indoor courtyard area which contains a pool, whirlpool and sauna, game room, guest laundry, exercise room, three meeting rooms containing 14,000 square feet, a full-service restaurant containing 6,795 square feet and a lounge containing 2,760 square feet.
Construction on the main portion of the building was started in 1962. The convention center and office complex, which was constructed in 1984, contain about 25,000 square feet.
 The selling price has not been disclosed, but when it sold previously in 2003, it was on the market for $3.4 million, or $19,767 per room.
Formerly the Great Bend Holiday Inn, the Highland sold in March 2003. As the Holiday Inn, it was owned by Horizon Hotel Company of Kansas City.
Prior to Farmers taking over the complex, the facility was owned by Highland Lodging LLC, of Kansas City. It was managed by Trinity Property Management, also of Kansas City.
Now, Leisure Hotels and Resorts of Leawood, manages the property. A spokesperson for Leisure Hotels said the company will continue to manage the hotel for 30 days, at which time the new owners will make a decision on what they want to do.