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IUPUI to close University Place hotel and event center

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In a stunning move, IUPUI has decided to close the University Place Conference Center and Hotel on West Michigan Street and will use the space for student housing, dining and classrooms.

The conversion will begin in December. The decision stems from a string of operating losses totaling $1.8 million in six of the last seven years “due in large part to a weak economy,” university officials said in a statement.

Indiana University owns the hotel and invested $13 million to renovate it just seven years ago. It has 278 rooms, making it the Indianapolis area's 14th-largest hotel.

The conference center and hotel employ 150 people, many of whom are likely to lose their jobs. The hotel and center are operated under contract with Rye Brook, N.Y.-based Flik Hotels and Conference Centers.

Flik officials could not be immediately reached for comment.

IUPUI plans to employ 50 IU employees and contract workers at the converted facility.

The existing Faculty Club and restaurant will remain open.

“We are proud of the role the campus has played in fostering a thriving convention and tourism business in central Indiana, IUPUI Chancellor Charles R. Bantz said in prepared statement.

“But new uses of the facility have been identified that will better support critical campus needs and our goals of quality learning environments, student retention and graduation.”

He said campus housing is at capacity, with more than 200 students on a waiting list.

The conversion, to be completed by the fall of 2013, will have housing space for 560 students. It also will house IUPUI’s first dining hall and about 30,000 square feet of classrooms. Classrooms will open in January, while students will occupy residential facilities in the complex in the fall of 2013.

Bantz said IUPUI has been studying the conversion idea for about a year.

 

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  • Business Fail
    This could have been successfully run and been prosperous, it was a fault of the way management ran things. What does this say about the Kelley School of Business or the Hospitality Management Program? It doesn't reflect positively, that's for sure! We're supposed to be an education institution where students learn how to be effective leaders and businessmen, and our own hotel can't even stay open for business??
  • Don't blame the JW
    You do realize the article said the hotel has had loses for 6 of the last 7 years, right? The JW Marriott has been open for, what, 6 months? Think there was a lot more to it than just that hotel.
  • Fate of NAMOS?
    Does anyone know what, if any, impact this descision will have on the National Art Museum of Sport, which is in the building?
    • Deliver what the customer wants
      To quote Jerry Throgmartin the man behind HH Gregg's success: "Competition doesn't put you out of business, you put yourself out of business because you stop delivering what the customer wants." Universities have no idea what hotel guests want. Running a hotel is a business. Universities know how to manage a budget. Too bad, you need a hotel at the center of a thriving university. Bad move imo.
    • BSU has a Plan
      Ball State is planning to use the building to revitalized its Village area.

      The building is likely to include 100 hotel rooms, an additional 50 dorm rooms for students, conference rooms, a student-run retail sales area, outdoor space designed for dining/receptions and two restaurants.

      This is part of a class project that recommended creation of a Village Business Owners Association; promotion of The Village on the web, Facebook and Twitter; allowing residence hall students to use their meal cards at Village eateries; painting murals on the walls of buildings; creation of a Village logo; installation of Village gateway signs to identify the area, and improvements to sidewalks, streets and parking lots, possibly financed by property tax abatement or tax increment financing (TIF).
    • JW
      Just another example of the JW Marriott sucking the life out of other hotels in the market.
      • Secret Hotel
        Few people realize this, but Ball State has had a hotel with 24 guest rooms in the Pittenger Student Center for over 25 years.

        I think it was used mostly for University guests and an occasional student parent.

        Suspect it never made any money either.
      • wide load
        move it huh? that's funny.
      • Education Vs Business
        This is exactly what happens when they step on others feet. Educational institution should focus on providing education and not become a businessman at taxpayers money.
        Ball State University is moving away from its primary business of education by planning to build a hotel. Existing hotel in Muncie are struggling to stay afloat.
        • ...
          Demo it... I think the angle of the building is ruining the true potential of that site and any building that has a useless and unused center courtyard the size of a city block shouldn't exist on an urban campus such as IUPUI; it might be great for recreational purposes for students but the angle is just
          a waste of space.
        • Move it to Ball State?
          After seeing the recent IBJ story on Ball State planning to build a $25 million hotel with conference rooms @ restaurants, maybe check with Mayflower to see what it would cost to move the IUPUI facility to Muncie?
          • Insane pricing caused losses
            The economy hasn't been lagging for 7 years - so that certainly can't account for a stream of operating losses for that period of time. I toured and compared their facility to other venues to hold conferences and seminars and their charges were 2-3 times the cost per person of other local options. They could have shaved their charges and booked a lot more events.

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