The University of Kentucky plans to buy and renovate the University Inn Hotel at the corner of South Limestone and Waller Avenue, turning it into office space for UK HealthCare.
The acquisition and renovation costs for two buildings on the 2.1-acre property will be about $16.5 million, according to an agenda item for the UK Board of Trustees meeting next week.
Officials from UK and the University Inn have held “intermittent” talks about the property for several months, the agenda says. The 87-room, 62,936-square-foot hotel is owned by the Waller Management Group, according to the Kentucky Secretary of State. Calls to the hotel’s management were not returned Wednesday.
The agenda item says UK HealthCare is short on space due to growth in education programs and clinical offices.
“Due to the current competitive real estate environment as well as the limitation of other buildings and structures adjacent to the university’s property, it is in the best interest of the university to acquire this property to provide needed clinical, administrative, and support space for UK HealthCare,” the agenda item says.
If the board votes yes, UK officials will finalize negotiations to buy the property. UK spokesman Jay Blanton said UK would continue hotel operations until June 30, which would provide six more months of operation.
In recent years, UK HealthCare’s expansion has stretched down both sides of South Limestone. UK has slowly purchased houses across from the medical center for a parking garage and a new Shriners’ Hospital, which is still under construction.
University Inn Hotel is the closest one for families of UK HealthCare patients. Now the closest will be the Hampton Inn on Southland Drive and a Home2 Suites by Hilton further down Nicholasville Road. There is also a Holiday Inn Express off Virginia Avenue.
“So, we believe there is close, quality hotel space in close proximity to the hospital that will be convenient for families,” Blanton said. “Finally, for a growing university community and health care enterprise, it always is appropriate to look for opportunities to acquire land and facilities contiguous to the campus.”