Lindenwood University bought the Days Inn hotel on Veterans Memorial Parkway for $3 million and will use the facility as student housing for the fall semester.
"It's in excellent condition. It's used as living space, so it's very much like a dorm the way it's set up already," said Lindenwood University President James Evans. "There's no repairs to speak of. It's in excellent condition."
The new dormitory, with about 100 rooms, will be called Linden Lodge. Lindenwood students are scheduled to move in to dorms Sunday. The university bought the hotel, which is near the Hawk's Nest Interstate 70 overpass near Sam's Club, in early to mid-July.
The university simply has to replace queen beds with single beds, install its phone system and ensure the wireless system works, Evans said. The university also bought an adjacent 100-space parking lot and repaved it. Evans said he thought the parking lot cost between $200,000 and $300,000.
"All told, we spent about half what we would have spent to build a new dorm," Evans said.
The facility is about a one-mile drive or a 3/4-mile walk to the Lindenwood campus, Evans said.
The former Days Inn has a lounge on each floor, and large and small exercise rooms.
Evans said the university would start the fall semester with about 4,000 residential students, filling all its available residential housing.
As a not-for-profit organization, the university will not pay taxes on the property.
The Days Inn, owned by Shaanti Corp., was assessed at $1,926,910 in January 2009. The corporation paid $42,586 in real estate taxes for 2009. In addition to sales taxes, the hotel would have paid tourism tax on occupied rooms to the city of St. Charles and St. Charles County. The city collected 1 percent and the county collected 5 percent of gross receipts.
Evans said every time the university adds residential housing, it brings students into the city.
"Each of those students and their parents spend money and they spend much of it in St. Charles," Evans said. "That helps area businesses grow. They pay sales taxes on everything they buy. And the more students we have, the more tuition they spend, and then we hire more employees. So, we're providing jobs for people, and they turn around and spend that money here."
Evans said, "It really is a quadruple boost for the city every time we acquire residential housing."
Evans said the university might be interested in acquiring more housing so it could add 50 to 60 rooms for residential housing "if it's appropriate for the community and adjacent to the campus."
QUIKTRIP ADDS NEW STORES
QuikTrip is four months away from opening its newest St. Charles location, on First Capitol Drive at the former Imo's Pizza location. The old Imo's building has been razed and crews broke ground on the new QuikTrip site.
Alan Renner, QuikTrip's real estate manager for the St. Louis area, said it typically takes four months from the ground breaking to complete a QT store.
Imo's moved from the site to 2260 First Capitol Drive near West Clay Street.
Once the new QuikTrip store is open, the one at 225 N. Kingshighway will close, Renner said. Employees from the Kingshighway location will work at the new location.
"That store (on Kingshighway) truly is a neighborhood store, kind of what we started with in the market 20 years ago," Renner said. "Subsequently, we're trying to get more of a highway feed." That makes sense because QTs are larger stores with a lot of gas pumps available, he said.
Meanwhile, the new QT location on Fifth Street near the Streets of St. Charles development has seen some delays, Renner said.
"That's been tangled up with the Streets of St. Charles development," Renner said. "There's lots of infrastructure and roadway development going on."
The city of St. Charles is improving the Fifth Street and westbound Interstate 70 interchange.
Renner said he is guessing construction on the new facility on Fifth Street could begin in two months. He said the new location will be built behind the current Fifth Street store while the current facility continues operating.
"We have to phase it in and keep traffic moving," Renner said. "It does take more time to build something like that."
St. Charles City Council members asked that the location be built similar to the QT in Lake Saint Louis, with brick facades on all sides and rooftop equipment hidden from view.