The Courtyard by Marriott New Haven at Yale was acquired by the Noble Investment Group Monday, prompting questions from community members who were unaware of the ongoing transaction.
The Noble Investment Group, which has made more than $3 billion in investments in primarily upscale select-service and extended-stay hotels throughout the U.S., purchased the Courtyard from 30 Whalley Avenue Associates, which was represented by the JLL Hotels and Hospitality Group.
Ward 2 Alder Frank Douglass, who represents the Dwight area, expressed anger that the transaction took place unbeknownst to the Board of Alders.
“I should’ve been the first to know, but to them, apparently, it doesn’t matter,” he said. “Once again, it seems as if a developer’s trying to come into the neighborhood without approaching us. It’s very disappointing.”
Founded in 1993, Noble tends to invest in hotels in areas which have stable demand, typically generated by major universities and medical centers.
The group recently hired Interstate Hotels and Resorts, a company that oversees 35 Noble-owned hotels, to manage the Courtyard by Marriott. Robert Sullivan, senior vice president of operations for Interstate Hotels and Resorts, said there have been no terminations or layoffs at the Courtyard as a result of the transaction.
“We re-hired everybody who wanted to stay at the hotel,” he said. “When we buy an asset, we don’t bring a bus of new people along with us. We want to work with the people who’ve made the hotel great in the past.”
Noble Principal and Executive Vice President for Acquisitions and Development Ben Brunt said Noble has planned major renovations for the Courtyard by Marriott.
New Haven Economic Development Administrator Matt Nemerson SOM ’81 said the group filed paperwork in the city plan several months ago suggesting that the hotel might go through a title change. He said the economic development staff was not contacted directly by the Noble Group. But this is the case in most private transactions, he added.
“We’re excited to welcome the group to the neighborhood,” Nemerson said. “My advice to them, however, would be that they reach out to the neighborhood management team as soon as possible and, in particular, to Alder Frank Douglass.”
The Courtyard by Marriott has had a complicated relationship with the surrounding Dwight neighborhood. In September, Marriott’s plans to add a new Residence Inn to the hotel faced opposition from residents, who were angered by the lack of community engagement on the part of the developers. Tensions rose when Newport Hotel Group CEO Douglas Cohen did not show up to a meeting where he had agreed to discuss the plan with the Dwight Central Management Team, a group of neighborhood representatives and several alders. Due to frustration among neighbors, Cohen eventually withdrew the hotel group’s application to build the Residence Inn while also apologizing for the lack of communication.
Sullivan said the Noble Group has a good track record when it comes to community involvement, citing Noble-owned hotels with “good relationships with the surrounding neighborhoods” in Boulder, Colorado and New York City.
The Courtyard currently features 207 guest rooms and suites.