|By Eileen Kennedy, The Telegraph, Nashua, N.H.
Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News
May 21, 2004 - MERRIMACK, N.H. -- The Residence Inn at 246 Daniel Webster Highway was purchased Wednesday for $9.3 million by a Boston-based hotel group, according to Jeffrey Saunders, president of Saunders Hotel Advisory Group, the new owners.
"We're very careful, very selective about future opportunities, we're not mandated to buy properties for the sake of buying them," Saunders said. His company researched the property and decided that the Residence Inn was the "most powerful" brand of extended stay hotels, both in the Merrimack area and across the country. The company that will own the Merrimack hotel is called Saunders Merrimack LLC.
"The whole Manchester-Nashua corridor is expanding. We have faith in the rebounding economy; we're already starting to see it here in Boston. It was a great time to purchase a Residence Inn at a reasonable price," Saunders said. The town has valued the property at slightly more than $7.69 million.
The Saunders Hotel Advisory Group, which has been run by Saunders family members for three generations, owns the Copley Square Hotel, the Lenox Hotel and a Comfort Inn & Suites near Logan Airport. The Copley Square Hotel has 143 rooms and was built in 1891, while the Lenox Hotel has 212 rooms and was built in 1900. The Saunders Hotel Advisory Group built the Comfort Inn & Suites, which has 208 rooms, near Logan Airport in 2000.
And Saunders said the company intends to pay attention to its newest acquisition, with a $3 million investment in redoing all 132 or so rooms, as well as the common areas. Among the upgrades will be new fabrics throughout, new marble and bathtub surrounds, he said.
"Our goal is to take the existing footprint of the building and improve it, not enlarge it," Saunders said. The first part of the hotel was built in 1987, which comprised 97 rooms, and the second part, made up of 35 rooms, was built in 1997.
Almost all of the existing 30 or so staff members will stay on with the same benefits they had under the previous owner, except for the general manager who has been transferred to another hotel by the previous owner, Pyramid Advisors LLC of Boston. Saunders said his company has hired Alex Bates as the new general manager, who had already taken over his duties Thursday.
"I'm the third generation of my family in the business," Saunders said.
"Anything we get involved in is very close to our heart."
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(c) 2004, The Telegraph, Nashua, N.H. Distributed by Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News.