Nonbinding letter of intent executed for St. James sale

Published 10:39 pm Thursday, March 2, 2017

The city of Selma is one step closer to selling the historic St. James Hotel after hotelFUBU executed a letter of intent last Friday to purchase the hotel.

HotelFUBU, which is a newly launched brand of the clothing company FUBU, offered last month to purchase the hotel for $400,000 and invest at least $3 million.

“We’re excited that we’re involved in these conversations with a company that’s interested in adding to our city and wants to be a part of our wonderful city,” said Mayor Darrio Melton. “It’s very exciting to know the caliber of people who are interested in working with us to shine up the crown jewel of our city.”

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Melton said the next step in selling the hotel is negotiating the purchase agreement. Cecily Groves, chief operating officer of hotelFUBU, said both sides are working out the terms of the agreement.

“We’re working daily to get that agreement completed so we can move aggressively into the planning phase,” Groves said. “Until that happens, then we won’t have any further comment on what the future plans will be. We’re both just very seriously working to come to an agreement.”

Melton said he hopes to have good news about the hotel in the near future.

“I’m looking forward to continuing this conversation with them and hopefully soon we can have some news on both ends in regards to what will be of the St. James Hotel as we move forward,” Melton said.

Groves, who toured the hotel before the offer was made, said the history in Selma is what attracted the company to the Selma and the St. James Hotel.

“The celebration of its history, the commitment of its community to continue development and growth and innovation. Those are all of the things that our parent brand FUBU represents,” Groves said. “We believe it is something we share in common with the residents of the city of Selma.”

The city has been operating the hotel since spring 2015 when Strand Management, who operated the St. James, decided to end its contract with the city. The city has since been trying to sell it because it costs the city monthly to keep the hotel open.

Groves said hotelFUBU is looking forward to the possibility of restoring the St. James and celebrating its history.

“Seeing it come back to life in support of the local economy is also a very honorable and exciting opportunity for us,” Groves said. “We look for the opportunity to preserve that history and that’s the good general citizenship that surrounds the local businesses and the local city government, the residents and their families.”

Melton and Groves both said there is no timetable on when they hope to see the deal finalized. The letter of intent is a nonbinding agreement.