Changes are coming to the Hilton University of Florida Conference Center.
On Tuesday, the University of Florida Board of Trustees approved Xenia Hospitality Group’s request to sell its interests in the hotel to the Arden Group of Philadelphia, which is known for acquiring and developing luxury hotels, resorts and condominiums.
With the new ownership, Hilton Hotels is requiring the owners to invest about $9- to $11 million in renovations.
“Ultimately it signals something greater that is happening or could happen, and we don’t know what they are going to do, but we know that they’ve committed to making a certain amount of renovations and updates,” said Janine Sikes, assistant vice president of UF Media Relations and Public Affairs.
The Hilton sits on state of Florida lands that are master-leased to the university. For about a decade, the university has leased these lands to Xenia, which owns the hotel.
The hotel, located on 1714 SW 34th St., has 248 guest rooms and has been considered an asset to the university for years. The transfer of ownership will be finalized on Feb. 11.
Charlie Lane, UF senior vice president and chief operating officer, said he is not sure when the renovations will begin but he believes the main renovations will be seen in the guest rooms, the restaurant and some of the suites.
“UF is [written] on the side of that building so it does reflect somewhat on our brand and anything that looks better and sounds better, in the eye of the public, that’s a good thing for us— so those people who stayed there, have an even better experience than before,” he said. “We say that’s a great thing.”