September 2, 2014
The Red Roof Inn on the Corner will be getting a renovation and a new name in the coming months.
The hotel was purchased by a group in Chicago for $20.4 million in July, and they plan to re-make it into a new hotel named Graduate, to open in the spring of 2015.
Graduate is a new hotel chain that is focusing on college towns and catering specifically to alums of the university. They hope University of Virginia grads will come stay at Graduate to re-live their college days.
Graduate hotels are opening this fall in Tempe, Arizona and Athens, Georgia. Five more will open in 2015, including the one in Charlottesville.
"Through our travels and research, we've spoken to locals and alums and experienced what makes each of these classic American cities so loved," said Christian Strobel, President of Graduate Hotels. "From the quirky traditions passed down over generations, to local haunts and the people that bring them to life. Graduate Hotels will be a true lifestyle hotel experience unlike anything currently offered in these markets."
Monica Gray did undergrad and grad school at U.Va. She thinks a new hotel on the corner will have strong appeal to alums.
"All the memories the U.Va. grads have here, and to have the chance to have a great place near The Corner," Gray said. "Especially if it was somewhat affordable, would be wonderful."
No word yet on how the hotel change would affect prices, although Graduate officials said their hotels are a higher scale than what's currently at the Red Roof Inn. They hope to attract not only former U.Va. students, but also parents who are visiting the university with their high school children, wedding guests, and business travelers.
The White Spot restaurant, which is just down the street from the Red Roof Inn, already gets a lot of business from U.Va. alums. Worker Daniel Sanchez says they make up to 900 hamburgers a day during football weekends and most of those are sold to former students.
"They still remember when they used to be young," Sanchez said.
A worker at the Red Roof Inn said she had been informed about the change, but she doesn't know how it will affect staffing.
Graduate officials did not know how the renovations would affect occupancy. Some of their hotels have remained open during the re-branding and others have closed.
The company plans to release more information about the change in the coming months.