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The Campus Inn in downtown Ann Arbor has begun its transition to become the newest member of the Graduate Hotel chain, with a extensive renovation project that starts this week.

"The hotel just checked out its last guest (on Monday)," says Ben Gottlieb, vice president of acquisition for AJ Capital Partners, which owns the Graduate Hotels chain. "We are in the process of taking out some of the old furniture fixtures."

The Chicago-based investment group bought the 45-year-old hotel in September with the intention of adding it to its Graduate Hotels chain. The 14-story building at the corner of State and Huron comes with 204 hotel rooms and several thousand square feet of flexible space for meetings, events and normal hotel guest amenities.

Graduate Hotels plans to keep the structure of the building and the number of hotel rooms the same with its renovation. However, it does plan to modernize the hotel in functionality and design while also making it a more open part of the community.

"We are working on something really special," Gottlieb says. "It will really activate the space."

The new hotel will feature a more open layout to both patrons and passersby. The idea is to make it more inviting for both hotel guests and neighbors can enjoy its ground floor amenities.

"We like to say our lobbies are an extension of ourselves," Gottlieb says. "We like it to be a living room for our communities."

The renovation project is expected to take 4.5 months and be open in time for spring commencement at the nearby University of Michigan. The newly redone hotel will also feature a locally-centric food and beverage program designed to foster interaction between hotel guests, Ann Arborites, and the University community.

Source: Ben Gottlieb, vice president of acquisition for AJ Capital Partners
Writer: Jon Zemke
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