UConn releases RFEI for private management of hotel
Connecticut– The University of Connecticut (UConn) recently issued a request for expressions of interest (RFEI) seeking proposals from potential developers to build a 100-room hotel on the university-owned parcel at the corner of Route 195 and South Eagleville Road. According to the UConn hotel RFEI, the university would lease the property to a developer and the developer would be able to build and run the hotel as a private company unaffiliated with UConn. Currently the site is occupied by a student housing building built in the 1950s. Because of the age of the building, it is planned to be demolished under the UConn Master Plan. Some of the requirements in the UConn hotel RFEI notes is that the hotel should be an appropriate size for the surrounding neighborhood and should also be environmentally friendly and sustainable. Developers will also need to be mindful of the Moss Sanctuary behind the site and pay attention to the ecology of the site and the sight lines from the sanctuary to the rear of the building.
Developers have the option to either construct a hotel, which would only utilize a portion of the site, or develop the entire area. The university is accepting expressions of interest that envision the full use of the site for the hotel and other additional developments. Currently, there is one other hotel on UConn’s Storrs campus called Nathan Hale Inn. The hotel was purchased by the university in 2015 after the hotel’s business had been struggling. The university has been using the hotel for both student housing and as a hotel but once the new hotel is constructed, Nathan Hale Inn will be used exclusively for student housing. City and university officials have expressed that the old hotel’s struggles are unique to the hotel and not because of a lack of demand in the market. The new hotel will be subject to local property taxes in the name of the lessee under state law. The UConn Police and Fire departments will be primarily in charge of public safety at the hotel and the property. The development of the site and hotel will undergo an environmental approval process, which will allow members of the public to comment on the plans.