Before city agrees to sell hotel, it should have an accurate, up to date idea what it’s worth

Published 5:54 pm Wednesday, March 30, 2016

It’s time for the city to get an appraisal done on the St. James Hotel. Actually, it’s been time.

Talks continue with businessman Mark Peterson about his interest in purchasing the hotel, but nothing should get accomplished without an accurate appraisal of the building’s worth.

An appraisal would give both sides — Peterson and the city council — a much more accurate idea of the St. James’ value. Talks have centered around $1.2 million and an appraisal would give an idea of whether that figure is anything close to what the hotel is actually worth.

The city council has discussed letting Peterson pick a third-party appraiser, but we don’t think that’s the best option. That’s not to say Peterson wouldn’t pick wisely.

It’s just that given what’s at stake, it’s probably best that the city picks its own appraiser to assess the St. James.

The current discussions have included Peterson paying for the appraisal, which could cost more than $10,000.

Peterson could and probably should choose his own appraiser for a second opinion.

Before talks go any further with Peterson, or before the city sells the hotel to anyone, an appraisal must be completed.

We’ve been asking for one since December and hope to see it happen soon. Both sides are spinning their wheels until then.