Photo courtesy of Gateway Hotel and Conference Center
By Lauris Olson
(Oct. 3, 2011 – 10:30 a.m.) A representative of the group purchasing the Gateway and Hotel Conference Center at Iowa State University said today that while the previous owners did a “great” job of operating the hotel, the new owners ‘will only make it better.”
The Iowa State University Foundation announced Friday that it was selling the hotel and conference center to Friends of ISU Hotel Holdings, LLC. Friends is purchasing the building, its contents and adjacent land for about $5 million. The sale is expected to close tomorrow, Oct. 4.
“These are the people involved with the creation of the hotel,” said Friends of ISU Holdings, LLC representative Doug Drees.
“They were on the ground when it was thought of. The have had involvement with hotel all of these years. The have been customers of the hotel. They have held conference at the hotel and they have held tailgate parties there when the weather was bad.”
Drees said Friends has “over 10” members (shareholders) now, but that another 40 to 50 people are considering buying in to the limited liability corporation. He said he could not provide a list of members or potential members who currently live in Story County.”
“The people are all really associated with Iowa State University,” said Drees. ‘I don’t have a list to know if they are Ames residents. I just know that they have a connection to Iowa State,”
The one member that has been identified so far is Al Jennings, a 1956 Iowa State graduate, and Chairman and CEO of EFCO Corporation of Des Moines. Drees said that Jennings and the other current members of Friends were original investors or board members of the Gateway Hotel. The hotel opened in 1978.
In a press release issued Friday, it was noted that “Friends is purchasing the Hotel because it is committed to providing a first-class hotel and conference facility owned by people who are supporters of Iowa State University and its mission.”
The group has already created a mission statement:
“To provide an atmosphere and environment for visitors to Iowa State University that supports Iowa State University where the youth of America can plant seeds and cultivate fertile minds to benefit all of humanity.”
Drees said the management company overseeing operations, FLIK International, will not change.
“Everything is business as usual,” he said. “ This is a stock acquisition which is different from an asset deal; so all the contracts will remain in force.”