Radisson to get face lift, new name

The new owners have leased the building until 2061.

Megan Nicolai

The former Radisson Hotel space at 615 Washington Ave. has a new name, a new owner and will soon get a face-lift.

The University Hotel-Minneapolis, the only full-service hotel on campus, was re-opened Aug. 11, and its new owners have committed to spending more than $10 million to renovate the space, said Susan Weinberg, the University of MinnesotaâÄôs director of real estate.

âÄúThe University is very excited to see a newly renovated hotel that can better serve the needs of the University,âÄù she said.

No major changes to the total occupancy of the hotel are expected, Weinberg said.

Platinum Equity Advisors secured a 50-year lease of the building and intends to renovate it into an independent, upscale, lifestyle hotel. The University Hotel will eventually boast a new fitness center, an Olympic-size pool, basketball and racquetball courts and a full-scale restaurant called the University Lounge.

The former lessee of the 304-room building sought to sell the land lease more than a year ago, and closed the deal in early April with Platinum Equity Advisors. The building opened in the mid-1980s.

The land lease, which originally ended in 2033, has been extended to 2061, Weinberg said.

A room at the former Radisson cost between $100 and $250 for a single night. That wonâÄôt change, as an advance booking for a traditional room with double beds at the University Hotel will run $102.75, while a suite is $249.

The building has an assessed market value of $10.6 million, excluding the land value, according to Hennepin County property records.

Weinberg said the minimum expected revenue from the hotelâÄôs rent and special events should exceed $16 million over the 50-year lease.

But she expects the total to be more than $40 million, when including the business itâÄôll bring to campus.

The University is charging the new tenant almost three times what the lessee of the old Radisson Hotel paid, according to Board of Regents documents. The Real Estate Office hasnâÄôt released the new rent, but the old lessee paid $120,000 annually.

Weinberg said whether to brand the hotel under a more recognizable name wonâÄôt be determined until the new owner has occupied the space for 90 days.

The University Hotel will continue to serve the same groups the Radisson did, including visiting athletes, those visiting the University for conferences and formal events, Weinberg said.

Sue LaTendresse, an executive officer and administration specialist at Gopher Sports, said that while the University Hotel is listed as a preferred hotel on Gophersports.com, the University has no input on where visiting sports teams stay while in Minneapolis, and does not know whether teams will choose to stay somewhere else in response to the more luxurious environment.

John Brant, the director of hospitality at Gopher Sports, said many teams have stayed at the former Radisson in the past for its convenience and reduced spending on transportation.

 LaTendresse said, âÄúWeâÄôre just glad we have a hotel on campus, just for sheer convenience.âÄù