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December 30, 2021

Tyler Technologies will expand in Maine with buy of generations-old Orono hotel

two-story motel surrounded by green lawn, pool and flagpole Courtesy / University Inn Academic Suites The University Inn Academic Suites, in Orono, has been sold to Tyler Technologies for an undisclosed price.

A 48-room Orono hotel, which served the community and generations of UMaine alumni, has been sold to Texas-based Tyler Technologies, which plans to convert the property into an office complex.

The University Inn Academic Suites, at 5 College Ave., was acquired in a deal that closed Wednesday, Tyler spokeswoman Jennifer Kepler told Mainebiz. She would not disclose terms.

The 24,000-square-foot hotel and its 4.4-acre site currently have a value of $1.6 million, according to town tax rolls. The University Inn opened in 1964 and had been owned since 2001 by Tracey Whitten, who closed its doors earlier this month.

Tyler Technologies Inc. (NYSE: TYL) provides software and services for public-sector clients, and employs 5,500 people — including 1,200 at offices in Bangor, Falmouth and Yarmouth. The company plans to move its 36-person Bangor team to the former inn, steps away from the University of Maine campus. Tyler will also add about 40 new hires there, Kepler said.

It’s not yet clear how the company will make over the property, where each guest room has a private balcony and an outdoor pool displays a huge UMaine “M” logo.

“Tyler is still evaluating our options to make the best use of the property in order to meet our needs and to align with the town’s comprehensive plan and vision,” Kepler said. “We envision a vibrant and collaborative environment for our employees, interns and the community.”

The company has met with town officials about its plans and is now considering architects for the project, Kepler added. She predicts groundbreaking next fall and the office opening in late 2023.

Maine ties

The Orono expansion will allow for greater collaboration with UMaine, the company said in a news release. Tyler’s Bangor office is about 6 miles away, on the outskirts of the city at 700 Mount Hope Ave.

The new office will also have shared space for community use during off-hours.

“We have strong ties to the local area and having this new space will allow us to strengthen our commitment to hiring in Maine,” said Chris Hepburn, president of Tyler’s Enterprise Group.

“In addition, it will help us foster STEAM job opportunities for both full-time employees and for internship candidates, as well as strengthen our relationship with community partners.”

hotel sign saying "thanks for the love and memories"
Courtesy / University Inn Academic Suites
On Wednesday a sign outside the University Inn Academic Suites displayed a fond farewell.

Since 2015, Tyler has sponsored the Maine App Challenge, an annual software design competition for high school students, and recently partnered with UMaine on the program. Through the university’s Foster Center for Innovation, student contestants will participate in free workshops related to brainstorming, prototyping, pitching and other topics related to software development.

Tyler’s roots in Maine go back to 1962, when John Marr Sr. founded Process Inc. in Falmouth. That business later became the Computer Center and then was renamed MUNIS in the 1980s. The company was sold to Tyler in 1999.

Over the years, Tyler has grown through a series of Maine acquisitions, the most recent of which was the 2018 purchase of a Portland cybersecurity firm, Sage Data Security. In total, Tyler has acquired 25 companies nationally since its founding in 1966, and has made 16 of them in the past five years, according to an M&A tracking company, Mergr.

The Yarmouth office, the company's largest in Maine, opened in 2011 and expanded three years ago. Headquartered in Plano, Texas, Tyler now has over 60 offices throughout the U.S. and Canada.

Location, location

If Tyler's goal is to draw local academic talent and resources, the Orono complex may be an ideal spot. It would be one of only a few Tyler sites neighboring a major college campus. (The company also has locations near the University of Michigan, in Ann Arbor, Mich., and Texas A&M University, in College Station, Texas.)

Courtesy / University Inn Academic Suites
An aerial photo shows the University Inn Academic Suites, center, situated between UMaine and Orono Village. The hotel overlooks the Stillwater River.

The sale could also have to do with something else on the UMaine grounds.

While visitors to the school have long lodged at the University Inn — as well as nearby Black Bear Inn and Conference Center, also owned by Whitten — UMaine is about to build a hotel of its own.

Plans call for converting two vacant halls on the campus into a 93-room boutique inn, which would be leased to a Pennsylvania developer through a public-private partnership. The project, approved by university trustees in July, originally had a price tag of $17 million. Construction is now projected to run $22 million and to begin in February, according to a recent UMaine memo.

That hotel, still unnamed, could open as soon as June 2023.

Whitten hasn't said publicly what prompted the sale of the University Inn, but on Facebook late Wednesday the hotel posted: "Tyler will be a wonderful partner for the Orono community and we are all excited to see what they will do."

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December 31, 2022

A private business owned by a local family has been sold to another privately owned business. Tyler Technologies is not in the non profit sector and does not build housing. They create jobs and hire many Mainers. I agree with the need to build low income housing but that concern needs to be addressed to developers and state and local governments.

January 3, 2022

What a disgrace! In a time when housing is DESPERATELY needed, and there's likely a surplus of office space, we're throwing away an inexpensive resource with enough land to build more housing... Unbelievable. Capitalism is doomed in this country because there won't be workers to support soon.

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