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Plans For On-Campus Hotel Proceed
September 27, 1999
Plans to build a hotel on the Storrs campus moved a step closer to being realized last week, when Robert Friedman, co-owner of the Norwich Navigators, and MeriStar, a hotel management firm, were named developers of a 120 to 150-bed facility to be sited near South Campus.
The hotel is part of a long-term goal to make the University more accessible to visitors, that includes the parking garage that opened last year and a visitors' center, expected to open next fall.
"The hotel is another element in the transformation of the University," says Fred Maryanski, interim chancellor. "It will allow us to accommodate visitors to campus, including alumni, parents of students, and others attending UConn events. It will also enable our faculty to host academic conferences."
The hotel, to be built near South Campus, will include 4,000 square feet of conference space suitable for small groups. It will take advantage of both the Rome Building and Building A in South Campus for additional conference space, on a space-available basis, Maryanski says.
The plans were based on a feasibility study done for the University that said the hotel should be sited close to the core of the campus, to permit visitors access to such facilities as Homer Babbidge Library, the Dodd Center, and the UConn Co-op. The project was discussed with the Master Planning Advisory Committee last spring.
The hotel is expected to have guest rooms that include a work area, a 60 to 90-seat restaurant with a built-in breakfast buffet, an indoor pool and exercise room, and a 150-car parking lot. It will have the qualities of a four-star hotel, Friedman said in his proposal to the University.
Friedman is one of the developers of the Norwich Comfort Inn, and Meristar is one of the largest managers of hotels in the nation. Meristar manages academic conference centers, including the Forrestal Hotel at Princeton University and the Toledo Hilton near the Medical College of Ohio.
Plans for the hotel are preliminary. Ground breaking is scheduled to take place around the first of the year, with the hotel completed 18 months later.
"The hotel has been long awaited and much anticipated," Maryanski says. "It will allow us to showcase our campus and our expertise not only to alumni, parents, and prospective students, but also to our colleagues around the nation."
Karen A. Grava