An Oxford Love Story
Oxford, MS – Chancellor’s House founder N. David Porter quickly fell in love with Oxford when his son, Chase, was a freshman at the University of Mississippi. But just as swiftly, Porter determined that the charming town needed a serious upgrade in the amenities it offers visitors from around the world.
“My wife, Gayle, and I came to Oxford to visit our son for the weekend,” he recalled. “We had no idea that it would be so hard to find what we wanted in hotel accommodations, even on a spring weekend.”
Porter knows that Oxford is a regular destination for business travelers like himself, along with Ole Miss alumni, parents, prospects and sports fans. The city also has emerged as an increasingly popular destination for literary scholars, history buffs, foodies and blues music aficionados.
“After talking to a number of other parents who had the same experience, I decided that the answer was to build a luxury hotel that would attract a certain segment of travelers to the city, whether they are Ole Miss families, business people or tourists.”
He lined up a stellar team of investors and hospitality executives – many with strong ties to Ole Miss and Oxford to form Chancellor’s House LLC and Chancellor’s House Management Group. The latter adds depth to the venture because of the team’s links to Ole Miss and Oxford. Fred Alias and his brother, William, are UM graduates who are leading the effort to develop and manage the hotel. Alumna Amanda Brown Olmstead is providing public relations support through her Atlanta PR firm.
Porter secured a prominent location at the south end of the central business district, barely a minute’s walk from the Square. With guidance from the leadership team, the architectural firm Humphreys & Partners and interior design firm Wilson Associates planned the three-story hotel to reflect the character of its surroundings.
“From the beginning, in conjunction with numerous city boards and committees, we have planned to deliver an architectural structure compatible with the historic feel and sense of the Square,” Porter said. Set to open in the summer of 2016, the hotel will offer 31 suites and rooms with five-star amenities, supported by the facilities, staff attention and luxury details that discerning travelers expect. In addition to spacious guest accommodations, Chancellor’s House will feature “The Grand Ballroom” perfect for weddings, reunions, formal celebrations and business events.
“We see the demand for an elegant ballroom facility in this prime location,” said Mike Donoghue, the project’s Managing Director. “At Chancellor’s House, a wedding party will be able to hold the rehearsal dinner and reception in one of the most luxurious facilities in the state while enjoying the warm hospitality of being guests at this special boutique hotel.”
While Ole Miss sports and cultural events certainly provide strong draws, Chancellor’s House plans to provide year-round programming and support for the many other interests that attract people to Oxford.
Tommy Stone, project developer for Chancellor’s House, is also an Ole Miss graduate and the university’s first on-field Colonel Rebel mascot. During his 45-year real estate career, he has developed over 5 million square feet of space of income producing properties.
“I haven’t been this excited since I walked on the field at Ole Miss, and I’m happy to be back in the beautiful Oxford and Ole Miss community,” Stone said. “To be involved in the delivery of a long-needed asset is especially gratifying. The quality of the growth in this community since my graduation is remarkable and explains why so many of my classmates and other alumni have decided to return to Oxford to continue their careers or retire.”
The hotel is being built by Mississippi based Carothers Construction. Elliott and Britt Engineering of Oxford provided civil engineering support for the project. Porter and his team are committed to creating a unique experience that will bring visitors back to Oxford again and again.
“People that come to Oxford want to relax at a place that can meet or exceed their travel expectations,” he said. “We plan to offer such outstanding hospitality that guests will want to return and stay at Chancellor’s House because it feels relaxing and luxurious, but at the same time as comfortable as their own homes.”