City is back managing St. James

Published 8:33 pm Tuesday, May 17, 2016

The city of Selma is back in the hotel business — at least for a few weeks.

On May 9, businessman Mark Peterson officially resigned from managing the hotel, leaving it in the hands of the city to take back control. Peterson and the city continue to discuss a sale of the St. James, but both sides are waiting on the results of an appraisal, which should be back this month.

Mayor George Evans said his staff would oversee the hotel until the council makes a change, whether that be shutting the hotel down or hiring Peterson to manage the hotel.

Right now, the likeliest option remains that the city manages the St. James until a sale with Peterson goes through.

Although we understand this isn’t viewed as a long-term solution, we’ve never been in favor of the city managing the hotel and competing against other local businesses. Obviously, the hope from both sides — Peterson and the city — is that a sale goes through in the next few weeks, making this a short-lived solution.

The appraisal is currently being done by Hotel Appraisers and Advisors, LLC out of Chicago and is expected to be completed by the end of May. Whenever the appraisal is completed, we’ll know whether the asking price of $1.2 million the sides have discussed is in the ballpark or nowhere near what the hotel is worth.

At that point, it’ll also be time to start the clock.

Both sides seem serious about getting a deal done, but when the appraisal is completed there’s nothing left to slow the discussion.

At that point, all the facts will be on the table and it’ll be time to make this thing happen, or for both sides to walk away.

The current discussion has been ongoing for more than six months. Nobody wants to see it drag on for another six.

Also, if Peterson doesn’t end up purchasing the hotel, the city will need to find a permanent solution quickly.

It’s not feasible or affordable for the city to manage the hotel long-term.