ORONO, Maine — A boutique hotel at the University of Maine in Orono is what some of the future development projects include.
"At the moment the proposal includes space for 87-rooms and is estimated at $17.2 million development cost. At this stage, again, we are still verifying numbers and looking at what will be possible, but we are very excited," said UMaine President Joan Ferrini-Mundy.
The hotel plans were advanced by university trustees. The site for the project is where currently two historic and empty UMaine buildings sit.
School officials say a few months ago, the university started a private-public partnership process with developers to give the buildings a new life.
"We are a center not only for people in Maine but for the region, for the country, for the world...we have scientists whose work is global, they participate in conferences, they host them...if we have space on the campus it will enable us to do more of that work right here on the campus," said Ferrini-Mundy.
Ferrini-Mundy shares Coburn and Holmes Halls are in need of significant investment in maintenance and accessibility upgrades. Both vacant buildings cost the university more than $100,000 to heat and maintain.
After a thorough assessment of applications for potential projects, Coburn and Holmes Halls will be leased to Radnor Property Group for 99 years for the construction and management of an 87-bed boutique hotel.
Radnor will invest about $17.2 million to make the project a reality. The private company will run the boutique hotel and invest to make the first hotel inside any University of Maine system campus.
Ferrini-Mundy said having on-campus accommodations for people visiting the University, for work, athletics, or entertainment purposes is going to make a big difference.
Right now, Radnor Property Group will be doing work to further its market analysis, design work, environmental work, tax credit analysis, consulting with its historical advisors, and completing a parking analysis.
“The University of Maine is a great investment,” Ferrini-Mundy said. “We are bringing big changes to the flagship campus of the University of Maine System. We thank the Board for its stewardship and are honored by the trust our students and their families, private and public partners, and our donors and grantors are placing in Maine’s research university.”
Additional updates and final considerations for the boutique hotel are expected this fall.