SOUTH BURLINGTON – With the hostile takeover of a small eye doctor’s office, the University of Vermont now owns every single health care office in the state. UVM claims the technically legal buyout had nothing to do with a recent op-ed piece written by the practitioner against them, but says it has finished its expansion in the state, at least as far as health care is concerned.
With literally no doctors or nurses out of their control, the school has decided to set its sights instead on hotels, hoping to “reduce duplicate services” and “consolidate absolute financial power over all Vermonters for the benefit of the community.” Their first purchase in the UVM Hotel Network will be Hotel Vermont in Burlington, followed by Hotel Connecticut (formerly the Norwich Inn), located along the banks of the Connecticut River, and the Hotel Oriental.
“Once we have Vermont, Connecticut, and Oriental up and running, we hope to move on to a location on Park Street in Burlington that we’re going to call ‘Park Place,’ and we’re looking at the waterfront obviously, in the boardwalk area,” said UVM developer Parker Gratis. “We’ve been building so many residential buildings for our students, it just seemed like the time was right to upgrade some of our properties to hotels. It’s important to us that families visiting our students have a good experience.”
Some residents are concerned that hotels prices may shoot up, especially after UVM more than doubled their health care prices yesterday after the final sale went through, but Gratis says UVM is working hard to keep costs affordable.
“The more things we control around here, the better we’ll be able to keep costs where they need to be. We’re in talks, and this may be premature to say at this point, but we’ve spoken to several communities about a partnership with local utilities. Who knows? We may be able to get people’s electric bills down, or their water bills. We won’t know for sure until we have them in hand and can run the numbers.”
Gratis said he was aware that some concerned citizens are working to form energy cooperatives that would keep control of utilities in the hands of the residents themselves, but that UVM had backup plans.
“We don’t necessarily need the utilities right now,” Gratis said. “One thing we’re keeping a close eye on is what Burlington ends up doing with those railroads.”
Image Credits: Vince & Dede & Natalie & Marina.