St. James sale may be close

Published 8:36 pm Monday, May 1, 2017

An agreement for the city of Selma to sell the historic St. James Hotel to FUBU could be completed this week.

During last week’s city council meeting, city attorney Jimmy Nunn said a purchase agreement could be finalized within the next 10 days.

The city has been in talks with FUBU since January about the company buying the Water Avenue establishment for $400,000. FUBU has also pledged to invest $3 million in renovations.

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FUBU is a clothing company that was started in 1992 by Daymond John, who now stars on the television show Shark Tank. According to the company’s website, one of its founders, Carl Brown, has launched a new venture called Erudite Hotels and Residences, which is a “boutique hospitality brand.”

Gamble, Gamble, Calame & Jones, LLC is representing the city of Selma in negotiations. Nunn said the firm was working to “bring this matter to a close within the next 10 days.”

The city council voted earlier this year to cap the amount paid to the firm at $8,000. Nunn said the firm has “far exceeded” that amount but would donate the additional fees to the city “to get this very important matter concluded.”

“I think it’s good on their part to do that,” Nunn said.

The city attorney added, however, that if negotiations continue into the future that the cap might have to be raised.

“If it does not come to an end soon, in the next 10 days, then he said he can’t continue in this matter without increasing the cap,” Nunn said.

The council listed the St. James with a real estate company out of Atlanta last fall that specializes in the sale of hotels.

The city will owe the real estate company a $70,000 commission after any sale.

The city has been managing the day-to-day operations with a bare-bones staff since Strand Management left in March 2015. Most of the rooms, except those with riverfront views, were mothballed last fall to save money.

At one time, the hotel was costing the city about $25,000 a month to keep open.

Last summer, the city council voted to sell the hotel to an Illinois businessman for $100,000 before the deal fell apart.

Efforts to reach FUBU for comment were unsuccessful this week.