A plan for future of the St. James Hotel

Published 8:33 pm Wednesday, September 7, 2016

By Tom Bolton
Bolton is a managing member of Millennium Properties LLC. 

A follow up to Jay Minter’s letter.

I thought Jay’s letter was as close to being the right solution to our “St James” problem as I have seen.

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As the owner of a currently operating nationally franchised hotel and a retired contractor I would like to expand on it a little if I may.

1. Fact — The property has great sentimental and civic value to Selma.

2. Fact — Unfortunately sentimentality and “civic value” does not pay bills.

3. Fact — the property in its current state has no economic value. It is actually negative. The city is spending approximately $25,000 a month to keep it open. That folks, with no significant revenue, is negative economic value.

4. Fact — The demographics in the hospitality industry in Selma will not support a $6 million dollar investment. I know this as fact because as I as an owner have access to the industry demographics.

5. Fact — Marriott and Hilton do not acquire hotels. They franchise private investors.

6. Fact — All investors care about is economic value and the bottom line. It’s called ROI, Return on Investment.

7. Fact — Marriott and Hilton do not flag hotels not meeting their criteria

8. Fact — the St. James is not up to their standards in room count, facilities, etc. Brand Standards is what it is called.

9. Listing the hotel with a realtor is a “Hail Mary.” For reasons why re-read the above facts.

10. Fact — a conventional “inside the box” approach is never going to succeed.

Based on the facts there is only one option, other than watching it fall in, as we have so many other historic buildings in recent years. That option is an unconventional approach utilizing our greatest asset we have left — private local citizens who have a heart for Selma and are willing to walk the walk not just “talk the talk.”

The second part of the equation is a city willing to partner with those citizens and develop a plan and then work the plan.

Selma is blessed to have those people with the means, the talent and the ability. How about it city government? Do you have the courage to step out in faith?

I hope and pray daily for all of us to stop the insanity right now, mothball the building, stop the bleeding and go to work on the plan. Now.

It’s as simple as that ladies and gentlemen. There has to be a vision and a unity among the elements of this community that transcends what has always happened before. The past is past. The time to act is now.  I believe I know how it can be done. If you want to be a part of it — a part of the solution  —then call me. My phone number is (334) 220-2514.  If you want to fuss, call someone else. It’s going to take a joint and mutual effort in order to make it work. Without that, it’s a waste of time.

The saving of the St. James could be the pivotal point in this community’s future — the opportunity to really come together, united for one in a single purpose, a common goal. It won’t be easy and it won’t be without sacrifice. But together we can do it. What say you, Selma?