|By Patricia Daddona, The Day, New London,
Conn.McClatchy-Tribune Regional News
July 19, 2011--NEW LONDON -- The new independent owner of the former Radisson Hotel is planning to affiliate with the Holiday Inn chain, according to his general manager, Bob Kenney.
Earlier this month, Bob Moore of North Haven, sole proprietor of J&H Hospitality LLC, purchased the hotel at 35 Gov. Winthrop Boulevard for just over $3.7 million, according to the city clerk's office.
Moore, who was unavailable to comment Monday, has been accepted as a Holiday Inn franchisee, Kenney said, pending completion of a property improvement plan. He temporarily changed the outdoor sign for the hotel to New London Plaza Hotel.
"We can confirm that this property will be a part of the Holiday Inn system in December 2011," said Holiday Inn's Atlanta-based media relations manager, Sarah-Ann Soffer, in an email.
Holiday Inn is owned by the InterContinental Hotels Group, an international outfit with offices in Atlanta.
"Radisson wanted a long-term commitment, and they wouldn't give us anything short term, so we chose to go independent," Kenney said.
The hotel, which has 120 rooms, sold out for its first full weekend during Sailfest, Kenney added.
Operating independently for now, the building will undergo at least
$2 million in physical improvements inside and out, from new sheets, mattresses and furniture to new signs and exterior renovations, Kenney said. The hotel will be named Holiday Inn New London, he added.
"We think the hotel will perform better as a Holiday Inn and will get more contributions through the reservation system," Kenney said, adding that the new owner wants the hotel to "be part of the community."
That includes continuing relationships with the Garde Arts Center, the Eugene O'Neill Theatre in Waterford, and others, Kenney said.
The hotel employs about 50 full- and part-time workers and provides up to 15 rooms to students of Mitchell College in the fall and spring, Kenney said. The hotel also features a restaurant, an indoor swimming pool and a shuttle that connects patrons with local attractions and the casinos, the manager said.
Kenney, who lives in Mystic, has worked in the hospitality industry for 25 years, starting with food and beverage operations and progressing to management. He has worked for a variety of chain hotels in the mid-Atlantic and New England states, including Best Western, Ramada and AmeriSuites, he said.
"Good operators like myself are always looking for good owners, owners looking to put some money into the business," Kenney said.
To see more of The Day, or to subscribe to the newspaper, go to http://www.theday.com.
Copyright (c) 2011, The Day, New London, Conn.
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