Redevelopment authority works to sell or lease St. James

Published 5:42 pm Monday, December 25, 2017

The Selma City Council has agreed to lease the St. James Hotel to the Selma Redevelopment Authority.

The decision will give the authority, which is over downtown revitalization, the task of finding a buyer for the St. James or a management company to run the hotel on a day-to-day basis.

SRA chairwoman Juanda Maxwell said the authority is working with an interested business currently and exploring tax credits that would make needed but costly renovations more financially feasible.

“It’s a win-win. It’s nothing that will be a loss for anyone,” Maxwell said. “We are here to help the city any way we can.”

According to the lease approved Friday, the group interested in the hotel is Rhaglan Hospitality, LLC, which operates several hotels, notably the Redmont Hotel in Birmingham.

The council approved a 99-year lease of the hotel for $400,000. When and how that money would be paid was to be hammered out in a lease agreement to follow. However, the money would only come if the hotel is sold or leased to managers long-term and won’t be paid by the SRA.

“It wouldn’t come from us but who we work with,” Maxwell said.

The hotel has been boarded up since late summer when a deal with a company affiliated with hip-hop apparel giant FUBU fell apart.

Before that, the city has been running the day-to-day operations of the St. James for more than two years since Strand Management left town in March 2015.