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Another Hotel Developer Buys Former YMCA Building in Burlington

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Published January 11, 2023 at 4:09 p.m.


The former home of the Greater Burlington YMCA - FILE: COREY GRENIER ©️ SEVEN DAYS
  • File: Corey Grenier ©️ Seven Days
  • The former home of the Greater Burlington YMCA
Updated, Friday, January 13, 3:56 p.m.

The former home of the Greater Burlington YMCA has a new owner.

Giri Hotel Management, a Quincy, Mass.-based group, purchased the property at 266 College Street early last month, city records show. There's no mortgage on file, but a Vermont Property Transfer Tax Return suggests Giri paid $4.5 million for the property.

Giri principal and founder Ashish Sangani told Seven Days through a spokesperson Thursday that the company hopes to open a Cambria hotel, one of a dozen brands owned by Choice Hotels. The previous owner, Palm Beach, Fla.-based Hospitality Funding, had also planned a Cambria hotel for the property.

According to the company website, Giri’s portfolio includes a few dozen hotels in Maine, Massachusetts and New Hampshire. It also owns the Comfort Inn & Suites at Maplewood in Montpelier.

The company says it has invested $50 million in hotel development and renovation projects and has a “proven track record for completing projects in high barrier to entry markets.”

Giri is the second hotel developer to own the College Street building since the YMCA sold it to Hospitality Funding in 2018. The firm paid $3 million and proposed a 142-room hotel on the downtown site.
Those plans fell through during the pandemic, and the vacant building became a popular target for graffiti. By January 2021, the property’s mortgage holder, Community National Bank, moved for foreclosure after Hospitality defaulted on its loan.

In legal filings, Hospitality said the bank reneged on an agreement to provide a construction loan for the hotel project. The developer couldn’t find other financing, leaving it “with a practically unusable building and $2,250,000 in debt,” the lawsuit says. Community denied the claims.

The parties stipulated to dismiss the suit in December. Scott Silver, Hospitality’s CEO, did not return requests for comment.

City officials are eager to see the property redeveloped. Last spring, the city began pressuring Hospitality to do something with the building, including clean up the graffiti and ensure the structure didn't become a fire hazard.

Brian Pine, director of the city's Community & Economic Development Office, told Seven Days at the time that the spot would be ideal for senior housing given its close proximity to public transportation and the downtown City Market co-op. Reached this week, Pine said he's hoping to hear about the new owner's plans soon.

Sangani said Giri hopes to move quickly to redevelop the property with a hotel that "fits in with the community and is a place they can be proud of."

The building went up in 1934 and is on the National Register of Historic Places. As a former YMCA, it once had a gymnasium, bowling alley, ballroom and other community spaces and previously housed soldiers after World War II. In 2020, the Greater Burlington YMCA opened a brand-new facility just down the street at 298 College.