12:00 AM

Trustees Authorize Purchase of Holiday Inn property

COLUMBUS -- The Ohio State University Board of Trustees today (4/3) authorized purchase of the Holiday Inn, 328 W. Lane Ave., and renovations of the facility to convert it into a university residence hall.

Campus Partners, a non-profit community redevelopment corporation affiliated with the university, purchased the property from Harper Hotels at the end of March. Subject to State Controlling Board approval, the University will purchase the property from Campus Partners. In the interim, Campus Partners is leasing the property to the university.

Cost of the 11-story, 243-room hotel is $19 million, and the Office of Student Life plans to renovate the building and convert it into a residence hall for 458 students. The purchase and renovations will be financed through university bond sales, and the debt service will be paid primarily through student housing fees.

The university intends to begin renovations immediately. A decision on whether to offer the Holiday Inn building as a housing option for Autumn 2009 will be made by May 1, based on an assessment of renovation progress at that point.

"We have pressing need for additional student housing, both because of increased demand from students who want to live on campus and because Jones Tower will be off-line next year for renovation," said William J. Schwartz, associate vice president for student life. "We were fortunate that the Holiday Inn came on the market at this time, and hope to be able to make everything work to bring this building into service as a residence hall this fall."

The building will continue to provide swing space as the university moves forward with other renovations of older residence halls. Beyond the renovation timeline, the facility will contribute to the university's overall plan to reduce residence hall room density and expand on-campus housing.

The building will be operated in the same manner as other Ohio State residence halls, with a professional hall director, resident advisers, and educational and social programming. In addition to the guest rooms with private bathrooms, most of which will be converted into double-occupancy residence hall rooms, the property includes a restaurant and banquet areas, which will become a Campus Dining Services location, as well as public areas and meeting rooms, which will be converted into study and programming areas. The existing swimming pool will be filled in.

The adjacent 244-car multi-level parking garage is included in the purchase and will be operated by Ohio State's Department of Transportation and Parking as faculty, staff and visitor parking.

Since opening in September 1973, the Holiday Inn has been a campus area landmark, often housing guests of the university, visiting parents, and fans of sporting events. Throughout the purchase process, Campus Partners and the university have worked with the management of the hotel to provide information and assistance in finding alternative locations to guests and organizations that had booked future accommodations at the hotel.

In addition, the university held two information and coaching sessions for hotel employees to familiarize them with the procedures for applying for university employment, and plans are under way to donate a major portion of the hotel furnishings and linens to a local furniture bank.