The manager of Lawrence's largest hotel is about to become the property's owner.
The Lawrence Holidome, 200 McDonald Drive, is being purchased by Hulsing Hotels Kansas Inc., which assumed management of the 192-room property last month. The hotel includes a bar and convention space.
Hulsing Hotels is owned by Dennis Hulsing, a Topeka native who also owns three hotels in the Kansas City area and three in Asheville, N.C., where he resides.
"I really, really believe in the Lawrence market - even though I'm a K-State grad," said Hulsing, who plans to close on the purchase early next month. "Kansas University is a great school, and the city of Lawrence is great, too. It needs a property like what we're planning to do to this one. : It will be a destination."
Hulsing is buying the Lawrence hotel from JP Morgan Chase Bank National Assn., which assumed control of the property last year after Lodgian Inc. declared its inability to make payments on $10.1 million in debt incurred at the Holidome and another in Manhattan. Hulsing is buying both properties.
Last year, Lodgian officials estimated that it would cost $2.5 million to $3 million for upgrades - new carpet, wallcoverings, bedrooms, bathrooms, banquet equipment and virtually everything else - to bring the Lawrence property up to Holiday Inn standards.
"We'll go well, well beyond that," said Hulsing, who declined to disclose specific plans but acknowledged that upgrading convention spaces would be "first and foremost on the list."
The 24-year-old hotel's last renovation came in 2002, for $1 million.
Judy Billings, director of the Lawrence Convention & Visitors Bureau, said "it's nice to know we'll have somebody who's dedicated to running a good property."
Hulsing formerly worked for Marriott and served as a senior vice president for Omni Hotels from 1991 to 2000. His company owns the Holiday Inn in Overland Park, and the Holiday Inn Sports Complex and the Clarion Hotel in Kansas City, Mo.