A growing hotel chain, Graduate Hotels, works to serve college alumni passion for sports and their campuses by using themes related to those schools. The company website indicates a hotel is planned for Columbus. (Brian Bahr/Getty Images)

A Dayton native is getting national attention for developing a unique college-themed hotel chain

A Dayton native has founded a chain of college-themed hotels and is profiled this week in the New York Times.

Ben Weprin, 40, now of Chicago, founded AJ Capital Partners and serves as chief executive the Chicago real estate company, according to the story in the Times.

The chain of boutique hotels, called Graduate Hotels, launched in 2014 and are located near college campuses. They “cater to the nostalgia and local boosterism that are part of the culture of university towns,” according to the article by Katherine Rosman.

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There are currently 11 Graduate Hotels and the company is building one near Cornell Tech in New York. The closest one to Dayton in is Ann Arbor. According to its website, a Columbus location is planned for summer 2019.

Weprin has been profiled by Forbes, the Wall Street Journal, Town and Country and CNN for his work reviving old hotels and building new ones.

According to the AJ Capital Partners website, Cooper Manning, brother of NFL stars Peyton and Eli and son of NFL legend Archie, is the senior managing director of investor relations for the company.

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