Last year Laura Dudnick did a piece about the Benjamin Hotel being sold to a venture capitalist. I read with some interest, but was worried about what would eventually become of this lovely building.
Many years ago (during the 80's) I visited the Benjamin Franklin Hotel. Growing up in Boston, I loved and appreciated the old time spirit of this historical building. It so reminded me of the Parker House hotel in downtown Boston.
As the years passed and this grand lady of San Mateo fell into disrepair and neglect, it broke my heart. I wished someone would save her. On a few occasions I asked around if anyone had plans for her. I even sent a picture of this hotel to a friend in Boston who knew investors, but to no avail. I thought (sadly) she would just wait to quietly pass away.
Today, my good friend called me and asked me if I knew who Tim Draper is. Not wanting to seem uninformed, I said "Of course I do!" (As I racked my brains trying to remember where I heard this name.)
Tim Draper, a Venture Capitalist, is the man who saved the Benjamin Franklin Hotel. He purchased the hotel last year and is going to open Draper University as soon as this summer.
There's going to be about 150 students living in the hotel on the first 3 floors and the classes will take place in the Fireside room.
The genius about this whole project is this: No students can bring a car to school with them. If you've driven to the downtown area of San Mateo lately, you know that having this "no car" rule is brilliant. I had to go to a title office last Friday at noon, the parking/driving experience still haunts me.
I also know that the downtown busineses will increase revenue and maybe even create more jobs.