The plan for the St. James still isn’t clear

Published 11:56 pm Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Selma is quickly approaching a self-imposed deadline. After taking over operations of the St. James hotel in early August, city officials promised to complete a sale or develop long term plans for the building by year’s end.

The hotel was self-sufficient last month, which is fantastic news, but it’s also only one month. Let’s keep in mind that the city previously infused $35,000 into the hotel to keep it running. The hotel may be running fine now, but it is being run mostly by voluteers who do not draw a salary. The current method of operation isn’t sustainable. The St. James shouldn’t be an experiment in local government running a private business.

Selling a multi-million dollar asset is a difficult task in a few short months, regardless of the seller, but city officials set the deadline, not us. It’s time the city follows through on a promise.

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If it’s any motivation, the hotel was valued at $6.5 million in 1997 and has hopefully appreciated in value. A sale would result in a tremendous cash flow into city government.