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Trustees Give Go-Ahead
for Hotel on Campus
January 24, 2000

The Board of Trustees has authorized a ground lease and development contract with Campus Associates L.P. to build and operate a 120 to 150-bed hotel and conference center next to the South Campus.

The hotel is part of a long-term goal to make the University more accessible to alumni, parents and visitors, in addition to providing a venue for academic conferences.

Under the Trustees' action on Jan. 11, Dale M. Dreyfuss, vice chancellor for business and administration, can complete the 50-year lease with Campus Associates, which is owned by Robert B. Friedman, owner of the Norwich Navigators minor league baseball team.

Friedman is partnering on the project with MeriStar, a hotel management firm that manages other academic conference centers, including the Forrestal Hotel at Princeton University and the Toledo Hilton near the Medical College of Ohio.

The hotel and conference center is expected to cost about $8.1 million to develop. Friedman's firm will pay all construction costs. The base rent on the lease is $5,000 a year for the first five years, $25,000 in the sixth year. In subsequent years, the rent will increase by the preceding year's Consumer Price Index.

In his proposal to the University, Friedman said the hotel guest rooms will be priced at market rates or about $90 a night. Each room will include a work area. The hotel will have a 60 to 90-seat restaurant, an indoor pool and exercise room, and a 150-car parking lot.

Under the terms of the 50-year lease, the hotel is expected to open by December 2001. The University will receive a 3 percent limited partnership. UConn and Friedman's firm will choose the hotel's name by mutual consent.

The lease will prohibit UConn from developing any other hotel and conference center within 15 miles of Storrs without Friedman's consent.

"The full-service hotel and conference center ... will fill a void that exists in the area for both hotel rooms and conference space and will be of enormous benefit to the University community," Dreyfuss told Trustees.

He noted that the hotel will be able to use the Rome Commons Ballroom, although University events would have the highest priority for that facility.

MeriStar, which will manage the hotel and conference center, is the country's largest independent hotel management company, Dreyfuss said. It manages 219 hotels in 34 states. Its Connecticut operations include the Hartford Hilton, DoubleTree at Bradley International Airport, Norwich Comfort Suites and the Danbury Hilton.

Ken Ross