The Oread hotel near KU campus has been sold to a Denver-based company and will become a Hilton hotel property
photo by: Mike Yoder
A Denver-based hospitality company has bought Lawrence’s The Oread, and will rebrand the hotel on the edge of the University of Kansas campus as a Hilton hotel.
Mission Hill Hospitality announced Monday that it has completed a deal to purchase The Oread, and will change the name of the property to the Oread Hotel, Tapestry Collection by Hilton.
“This acquisition presented a unique opportunity to expand our portfolio geographically in a major education market with high demand, offering unparalleled proximity to the University of Kansas,” said Tom Barber, managing director of Mission Hill Hospitality. “Mission Hill Hospitality continues to focus on targeted acquisitions of hand-picked, high-quality assets in strategic locations, with the Oread Hotel representing our first investment in the Midwest.”
Mission Hill is a relatively new company, but has been an aggressive buyer of hotels, ranging from properties in midsize communities like Durham, North Carolina, and Savannah, Georgia, to large markets including Atlanta and tourist destinations like Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. The Oread is the 24th property Mission Hill has bought since its founding in March 2021.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed. The Oread was created by a group of local investors led by Lawrence businessman Thomas Fritzel. The hotel subsequently became the center of a tax scheme that led to Fritzel being convicted in 2020 of a federal conspiracy charge and serving time in a federal prison. He has since been released. Fritzel also has led a group that owns the historic Eldridge Hotel in downtown Lawrence. The Mission Hill deal doesn’t appear to include the Eldridge, based on information in the press release.
The Oread currently has 99 hotel rooms, plus nine condominium units available for purchase by people who wanted to have a more permanent living arrangement at the property. The new owners said they plan to convert three of the nine condominium units into hotel rooms, bringing the Oread to a 102-room hotel.
Other improvements include “substantial upgrades to guest bathrooms” and new improvements to public spaces on the property. The hotel features a restaurant, bar, retail space, a fitness center and two large outdoor rooftop terraces.
What may be particularly important to watch are planned improvements to event space at the hotel. The property is located at 1200 Oread Ave., which is basically on the north end of the KU campus and only a block away from the Kansas Union and the expanding KU Alumni Center and the university’s new visitors center.
The change in ownership comes at a time when KU officials are creating a new strategy to use spaces on the KU campus — everything from lecture halls to the student unions — to host more conventions and conferences in Lawrence. Mission Hill said renovations to event space are part of the capital improvements it has planned for the property, but did not offer additional details.
Mission Hill Hospitality, while a fairly young company, is part of the much bigger and older KSL Capital Partners, which owns and operates large resort properties throughout North America and Europe.