College’s Real Estate Foundation purchases Days Inn hotel for student housing
Written by Sarah Smith|
September 6, 2016
In preparation for planned renovations to Landrum Hall and in anticipation of long-term need for expanded undergraduate housing options, the College of William and Mary’s Real Estate Foundation purchased the Days Inn.
According to Real Estate Foundation Executive Director Nancy Buchanan, this decision was influenced by the location of the Days Inn in relation to the College and the Williamsburg community.
We’re very happy to announce this agreement,” Nancy Buchanan said in a press statement.
“We’re very happy to announce this agreement,” Nancy Buchanan said in a press statement. “We’re always interested in property that is adjacent to campus and strategically located, especially when it could represent a mutual benefit to the university and local communities.”
The property on 902 Richmond Road is currently owned by Jalaram of Williamsburg, Incorporated. The two-story building is approximately 38,600 square feet and includes 102 guestrooms. At this time, it is not clear how many of those rooms would be usable for student housing.
The Real Estate Foundation purchased the building for $3.05 million, but the sale is contingent on the City of Williamsburg’s inspection and rezoning of the hotel through a special use permit. Because the College anticipates using it for student housing, the Foundation will go through a change of use process for the building.
Unlike when the College purchased One Tribe Place, a hotel formerly known as The Hospitality House, for student housing, the company responsible for selling the property is actively and publicly going through the process of selling. According to Senior Vice President for Finance and Administration Sam Jones, this means that issues like the water infiltration in One Tribe Place will be caught early on in the inspection process.
Director of Facilities, Planning and Design Wayne Boy said that the Days Inn will go through two rounds of inspections. The College will hire a team to do a “forensic analysis” of the building and then employees of the City will make the final say in their inspection.
“Since the City will consider the Days Inn as a change of use, all decisions on the inspection will come from their review team,” Boy said.
Within the next 90 days, the College and the City will work on getting a special use permit approved and then evaluate the property between November and February. Barring any major issues with the building, the College will use the summer months to make any improvements.
Adjustments to the interior of the building to create public spaces and bathrooms for non-residents may need to be made. Jones said it is not clear whether or not these changes are needed for the Days Inn building, but those were the standard changes made to One Tribe Place.
The inspection teams will look for leaks or pooling of water on the roof, check for asbestos since the building predates the asbestos ban in construction, and make sure all the utilities — such as heating, electricity and plumbing are working properly.
If all goes as planned, the building will be ready for use by fall 2017 for either undergraduate or graduate housing.
As of now, the College estimates that the building will hold 100-125 students.
The Days Inn and The Hospitality House were two of the hotels within walking distance of the College. Jones said that alumni who are interested in visiting the College for events like Homecoming were more upset after the purchase of The Hospitality House than of the Days Inn, but that he believes any complaints over this purchase will subside in the future.
“At the end of the year, there are maybe 12 days that attract that many alumni back to campus,” Jones said. “We don’t see any long-term impact on alumni. Colonial Williamsburg has plenty of lodging and there are several bed and breakfasts close to the College.”
Because the property was purchased by the Real Estate Foundation, not directly by the College, the Board of Visitors does not need to formally vote on a resolution to approve the decision. Jones said the College will discuss the purchase and develop a strategy for moving forward when the BOV meets later in September.
The Real Estate Foundation is responsible for “strategic purchases” for the College.
Jones said that they also handle selling property that alumni or other donors gift to the College. For example, they handled the purchase of Tribe Square.
According to Associate Vice President for Student Affairs and Director of Residence Life Deb Boykin ’76 M.Ed. ’82, the College will wait to determine the specific use of the Days Inn until after the City rezones the property.
Residence Life and Facilities Management work together to develop a plan for taking buildings offline for renovations, like we did with Chandler 2014-15 and like we plan for Landrum for 2017-18,” Boykin said in an email.
“Residence Life and Facilities Management work together to develop a plan for taking buildings offline for renovations, like we did with Chandler 2014-15 and like we plan for Landrum for 2017-18,” Boykin said in an email. “When this happens it is advantageous for us to have ‘swing space’ to accommodate for the loss of beds. We will also consider the option of using Days Inn room for graduate housing.”