September 26, 2018

UConn trustees OK $8.3M hotel sale

UCONN PHOTO | Peter Morenus
UCONN PHOTO | Peter Morenus
Nathan Hale Inn at 855 Bolton Road in Storrs

UConn's board of trustees on Wednesday unanimously approved the $8.3 million sale of its 95-room hotel to a Chicago-based real estate developer.

The board authorized the school's administration to enter into a sale agreement with AJ Capital Partners LLC, which will purchase the Nathan Hale Inn at 855 Bolton Road in Storrs.

Under the terms, AJ Capital has agreed to invest up to $13 million in improvements to the building and land. Upgrades will be made to the guestrooms, bathrooms, guest corridors, lobby, restaurant, meeting rooms, ballroom and other public spaces.

The developer will also add an addition to the building, which will become a year-round ballroom. All improvements will be made by year-end 2019, officials said. The hotel will not house UConn students.

The hotel is expected to be closed during the five- to six-month renovation, officials said.

The university said it chose AJ Capital, the parent company and developer of Graduate Hotels, because it "is an up-and-coming collegiate brand with substantial experience with college and university hotels."

AJ Capital currently has 23 hotels in operation and under development on or near college campuses throughout the country.

"Since the student housing demand on the Storrs campus has stabilized, the administration believes this is a unique opportunity to sell the inn to a professional hotel company and have that private party make much-needed improvement to the inn," wrote Scott Jordan, UConn's executive vice president for administration and chief financial officer.

UConn spent over $8.3 million for the hotel in June 2015 after its previous owners sold their interest in the property in Dec. 2014.

Built in 2001, the 98-guestroom hotel was built in response to a lack of housing at UConn's Storrs campus. Half of the inn's guestrooms were converted to student housing in 2013.

After 12 years of operation, deferred maintenance of the inn has "diminished" hotel accommodations and its reputation, Jordan said.

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