FRAMINGHAM, MA-A legendary lodging property here dating back to the 1950s has been sold to a Northeastern-focused hospitality company that reportedly hopes to redevelop the site for retail and an expanded inn. The 63-room Monticello Motel—which boasts of such celebrity guests as Diana Ross and Frank Sinatra as part of its legacy—is now owned by Jamsan Hotel Management Co. after that Lexington-based group paid $3.7 million to M Hotels LLC.

“It’s a very strategic piece of real estate,” says Thomas Blakely, president of TRB Associates and the broker who marketed the asset on behalf of the sellers. The 3.1-acre property that straddles the border of Framingham and Natick is one of the remaining properties along retail-choked Route 9 that has not been redeveloped in the past two decades. Situated on the eastbound side, the Monticello is in the heart of Framingham’s so-called “Golden Mile,” notes Blakely, with neighbors including the Natick Mall, Shopper’s World and Wal Mart. Other modern additions include a large Jordan’s Furniture property next door, plus national players including Bed Bath and Beyond and Tweeter.

While confirming that the buyers hope to create retail on the property, Blakely declined to discuss specifics of Jamsan’s plan, or even to confirm that they were the winning bidders for a spirited competition to acquire the site. Industry reports, however, maintain that Jamsan did persevere and will seek to nearly double the lodging footprint to approximately 120 to 125 units as part of its strategy. Efforts to contact Jamsan officials to discuss the matter were unsuccessful by press deadline due to difficulties with the firm’s telephone system. Also unavailable was Paul Carter of the Carter Group, who provided consulting services to the buyer.

In business since 1995, Jamsan now has 18 hotels, all in New England and mostly in tertiary communities such as Concord, Keene and Nashua, NH; Windsor Locks, CT; and Brattleboro, VT. In Massachusetts, Jamsan has existing hotels in Auburn and Greenfield. Although Blakely would not identify the buyers or unveil their proposal for repositioning the Monticello, he says his firm has been appointed leasing agents for the retail portion. Blakely could not say whether the Monticello would be reflagged and whether any portion of the existing property will be incorporated into the design, but did praise the redevelopment’s concept. “It’s going to be really amazing,” he tells

Whatever the future holds for the Monticello, Blakely concurs that the property’s history is well-regarded. Originally constructed to service the adjacent Monticello Theatre, the motel in its heyday housed such guests as Ross and Sinatra and their collective entourages. Seller M Hotels acquired the property in late 2006 for $3.1 million and did undertake a capital improvements program during its brief stewardship.

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