Several show interest in St. James

Published 10:58 pm Saturday, July 9, 2016

Even though it hasn’t yet been listed with a national realtor, the St. James Hotel is already drawing interest from potential buyers.

Councilwoman Susan Keith said a representative from Wyndham Garden made a trip to Selma to see the hotel on Thursday.

Keith said the representative isn’t interested in buying the hotel himself, but he works to match hotel owners with franchises.

She’s said she also spoken to a developer from Illinois that has shown interest.

“Just with word of mouth marketing, this interest has peaked, so I don’t think it’ll take much time when we get some national attention from somebody who knows how to market,” Keith said.

The council voted in late June to list the hotel with a national realtor.

Keith said she would be making a recommendation of a realtor to the council during Tuesday’s meeting.

During a meeting in late June, councilman Greg Bjelke suggested the city list the hotel with Rusty Palmer, a Selma native that has worked with other commercial properties in Texas and New Orleans.

“While I would love to consider Selma people or people with roots in Selma for obvious reasons, that can’t be the decisive factor,” Keith said.

“We’ve got to think about what’s best for Selma, what’s best for the hotel and where we’re going to get the quickest and best turnaround.”

If one of the two people that have shown interest in the hotel end up wanting to buy the property, Keith said they’ll be excluded from any contract the city signs with a national realtor.

“We’ve done the work showing the hotel, so those two folks would be exempted from the contract,” Keith said.

Keith said the new interest is because the hotel wasn’t really marketed over the last 10 months.

During that time, the city and Selma native Mark Peterson discussed a sale, but Peterson ultimately elected not to buy the hotel.

The hotel was appraised at $900,000 by Hotel Appraisers and Advisors in April.

Selma City Council president Corey Bowie said the council will also hold a vote Tuesday on paying Hotel Appraisers and Advisors the $12,000 owed for the appraisal