The Griffin Gate Marriott has new owners and they have big plans.
The 409-room hotel on Newtown Pike sold in December for $38.7 million to a partnership of McWane Inc. and Highline Hospitality. McWane is an Alabama-based family company that makes industrial piping; Highline Hospitality is part of a new diversified real estate venture.
Managing partner Chuck Pomerantz said the Griffin Gate Marriott is their first acquisition.
Xenia Hotels previously owned the property, which was built in 1981 and has a golf course and spa, as well as The Mansion, a standalone restaurant.
The hotel is still Lexington’s largest, with more rooms than the new Marriott City Center, downtown Hilton or Hyatt Regency.
“It’s an iconic property in the area and our goal is to renovate it and bring it back to some of that glory it once had,” Pomerantz said. The renovation “will be north of $30 million” and will touch all aspects of the hotel, from the rooms and public spaces to the restaurants, including The Mansion, and the spa and golf course.
Pomerantz said he has a background in events and hospitality and wants to add some signature events, as well as more corporate events and weddings.
One possibility: A Halloween haunted house ticketed event with The Mansion as the center of it. Another might be bourbon tastings in partnership with Kentucky distilleries.
Pomerantz said the renovation will take 24 to 36 months and he hopes to begin in November, once they get approval from Marriott and from the city.
But the hotel will remain open while the upgrades are made.
“Part of the reason we love the property is the longevity of the employees, some of whom have been there since it opened. A lot of them are very excited it is going to get the renovation it needs,” he said.
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