Liberty University has announced it will become the new owner of the Wingate by Wyndham hotel in Lynchburg, adjacent to campus.
The hotel, built in 1998, was purchased in a foreclosure auction on Thursday for $9.2 million.
Liberty Chancellor and President Jerry Falwell, Jr. said the university intends on operating it as a hotel for the foreseeable future.
“Liberty has a history of investing in local real estate that fits our strategic plan, and this property is contiguous to our campus and would serve a valuable purpose either as a hotel or as student housing,” he said.
Falwell, Jr. added that many universities operate hotels on their campuses. For example, Charleston Southern University in Charleston, S.C., owns the Wingate by Wyndham on campus. George Mason University in Northern Virginia recently built a new hotel on its property.
“It works well for conferences and for guests visiting campus,” Falwell, Jr. said. “I think the Wingate will be a real asset to the university.”
The hotel, located on Candlers Mountain Road across from Liberty’s year-round ski slope at Liberty Mountain Snowflex Centre, provides a beautiful view of campus.
The hotel was remodeled three years ago.
The acquisition comes as Liberty undergoes a major campus transformation and is set to reach $1 billion in net assets.
An economic impact study released in 2010 shows lodging expenditures and revenues in the region are directly related to Liberty’s growth, with visitors to the university purchasing 59,545 hotel room nights in one year, or one out of every nine hotel nights purchased in the region; Liberty accounted for roughly one out of every $7 in area hotel revenue, which totaled $5.6 million. The study was conducted in 2009 and does not reflect the increased impact generated by Liberty's dramatic growth in the last three years.