After $35M renovation, hotel on Purdue campus reopens doors

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) — A 90-year-old hotel on Purdue University's campus has reopened for business following a $35 million renovation that transformed its lobby, expanded its suites and added a restaurant and bar.

The 182-room Union Club Hotel reopened Wednesday to guests who inspected the overhaul of the hotel, which was built onto the Purdue Memorial Union in 1929, with additions in 1938 and 1955.

Under a contract signed in 2019, when the renovation began, Merrillville-based White Lodging assumed management of the hotel. The hotel remains the largest by bed count in Greater Lafayette, even though 10 rooms were removed during the project, the Journal & Courier reported.

Jo Wade, the CEO of Visit Lafayette-West Lafayette, called the changes to the hotel, including bigger suites and the addition of a restaurant and bar, “awesome." She said Union Club-style hotels on campuses across the country tend to be dated.

“That went for the Union Club Hotel, too,” Wade said. “Now, you walk into the lobby, and it’s unrecognizable. It’s amazing what they’ve done with the footprint they had.”

Terry Dammeyer, president and CEO of investments and development for White Lodging, said that was the goal of renovations. About $30 million of the renovation work was funded by a pair of $15 million gifts from the family of Bruce White, a former Purdue trustee and founder of White Lodging.

According to the 2019 contract between Purdue and White Lodging, the company will get 3 percent of the revenues from the Union Club Hotel, its restaurants and operations.

The rest stays with Purdue, whose president, Mitch Daniels, called the revamped hotel “a world-class facility."

“There’s something, to me, that’s uplifting about that. There’s a little something ‘Boilermaker’ in that," he said.

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