City, hotelFUBU finalize terms for sale of historic St. James Hotel

Published 3:47 pm Saturday, June 3, 2017

Mayor Darrio Melton has signed an agreement to sell the historic St. James Hotel to Erudite Holdings LLC, parent company of hotelFUBU.

Melton, who signed the contract Wednesday after the Selma City Council voted Tuesday to approve the agreement, said the ball is now in hotelFUBU’s court.

“The contract has been sent off to FUBU, and now we’re just waiting to hear back from them,” Melton said Friday. “The council was satisfied with the terms of the contract, and they are ready to move forward with it.”

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Erudite Holdings is a company founded by FUBU co-founder Carl Brown. HotelFUBU is a brand licensed to Brown and his business partner, Cecily Groves, by FUBU.

The council’s approval of the contract was in the consent agenda, which allows the council to vote on multiple business items all at once instead of individually.

“We voted for the mayor to move forward to sign the contract so we can go ahead and move forward with the selling of the St. James,” said Council President Corey Bowie. “I think this is an additional step in moving in the right direction.”

Melton said as far as he knows, no other action will need to be taken by the council.

“It’s very exciting to know that we are moving forward and getting closer and closer to the possibility of having a new feel for the St. James Hotel and potential new redevelopment for this area, which is the anchor of Water Avenue,” Melton said.

“We just know with the caliber of company they are investing in our city will do great for the redevelopment and revitalization of downtown.”

The agreement is to sell the hotel for $400,000, and it requires hotelFUBU to operate the business as a hotel.

Melton said if the deal goes through, the hotel will still be known as the St. James.

“The hotel will remain a hotel and won’t be used for any other purposes other than for hotel purposes,” Melton said.

“The name will remain the same. =It will not change.”

HotelFUBU made an offer to purchase the hotel in February for $400,000 and pledged to invest at least $3 million in renovations. The city tried to negotiate a higher price, but hotelFUBU wouldn’t budge.

Melton told the council in February he felt the previous council’s decisions about the hotel could have played a role in the company’s decision to hold steady at $400,000.

Last year, the council agreed to sell the hotel for $100,000 to an Illinois businessman in a deal that fell apart.

The hotel was appraised last year at $900,000.

Melton said he hopes to have the deal finalized soon.

“We’re talking maybe a month or so in regards to the closing. Hopefully, we the deal will be closed by July,” Melton said.