In late 2011, Jameson faced foreclosure on the loan it took out to finance the 2006 merger. They filed for bankruptcy to avoid foreclosure, but to no avail. Jameson had over 100 of its properties foreclosed upon, leaving only 12 properties in the chain by the end of 2012. None of those properties were original Signature Inn locations.
America's Best Franchising acquired the company in 2012, and included in the deal was the Signature Inn brand. Apparently, even though Signature Inn had all but disappeared from the hotels, Jameson still held the rights to the Signature Inn name. ABF has no plans to do anything with the brand at this time, but the possibility still exists that it could be rolled out in the future.
According to what I could find while searching the internet, the chain consisted of a grand total of 28 locations. I cannot be sure if all 28 operated at the same time, as the Canton, Ohio, and Plymouth, Michigan, locations were not on the first archived version of Signature Inn's site back in 1998. So far, I've not been able to locate any property records showing when those locations were sold. With a build date of 1996 for the Carmel location and the Springfield location joining in 1997, it's possible the other two locations could have been dropped from the chain before then. What I do know is that in 1998, the chain was at 26 locations.
After Canton's and Plymouth's departure, the next location to be dropped would be the Northeast Cincinnati location in early 2002. Next to go in late 2003 or early 2004 was the Florence, Kentucky, location. Cincinnati North followed behind somewhere between February and April 2004. Bettendorf, Iowa, disappeared from the web site in mid-2005. Dayton, Ohio, was sold in June 2005 and Terre Haute, Indiana, was sold in December 2005.
The Indianapolis Northwest (their first hotel) and Indianapolis East locations were sold off somewhere between mid-2004 and mid-2006. Unfortunately, I was unable to pin down a more exact time frame for these due to how the site was archived. Property records were not much help for these locations either.
Somewhere between September 2006 and October 2006, the Columbus, Ohio, location was gone from the site (the county auditor shows the property was sold in February 2006). Also of note is that somewhere around this point in time, a lot of the remaining establishments would be under the Jameson Inns name. However, it appears that Springfield, Illinois; Normal, Illinois; Fort Wayne, Indiana; Lafayette, Indiana; and South Bend, Indiana, would keep the Signature Inn name.
As of late 2006, the chain was down to 17 locations. The next one would be sold in August 2007, that one being the Fort Wayne, Indiana, location. The rest of the chain was granted a reprieve until February 2010 when the Springfield, Illinois location was closed (that hotel was demolished two months later). According to property records I've been able to find, the Lafayette, Indiana, location was no longer part of the chain as of May 2010.
The remaining 14 locations would be safe until sometime in early 2011 when Kokomo, Indiana, would no longer be affiliated with the chain.
The next round of closures came in late November or early December 2012. Normal, Illinois; Elkhart, Indiana; Evansville, Indiana; Indianaoplis West; Indianapolis South; and Muncie, Indiana, would all be removed from the chain, dropping the number of hotels from 13 down to seven.
When the end of 2012 rolled around, the remaining seven locations would all be sold off, those being Peoria, Illinois; Indianapolis/Castleton; Indianapolis/Carmel; South Bend, Indiana; Louisville, Kentucky, East; Louisville, Kentucky South; and Knoxville, Tennessee.
My next installment begins highlighting each of the locations, one per post in roughly the order they were built. I have been able to visit and photograph (from the outside) 17 locations so far. One of these days I hope to have a chance to spend a night or two in one of these establishments.
Sources for this article include the following:
“Inside ABF’s Jameson Inn deal with the CEO” – David Eisen, Hotel Investment News, 12/20/2012
“ABF aims to get Jameson Inn back in business” – Brendan Manley, Hotel News Now, 12/20/2012
“Jameson Inns joins Longhouse Hospitality” – Atlanta Business Chronicle, 8/2/2006
“Jameson Inns Grows Through merger; New Company Doubles inSize” – Bloomberg, 8/3/2006
“Colony Capital converts 102 Jameson Inns, but ABF keepsbrand alive” – Judy Maxwell, Asian Hospitality
“Jameson Inns shareholders vote to drop REIT status” – Atlanta Business Chronicle, 12/22/2003
“Investors Taking 2 Hotel REITS Private” – Mark Heschmeyer, CoStar Group Realty Information, 5/24/2006