St. James Hotel remains on pace to reopen this year

Published 7:33 pm Thursday, January 17, 2019

The reopening of the St. James Hotel is targeted to open over the next three or four months, according to Rhaglan and American South Real Estate Fund LP (ASREF) Chief Executive Officer Jim Lewis.

Lewis and Selma attorney Harry Gamble both spoke Thursday at the City Council Work session at city hall.

Rhaglan Hospitality, LLC, based in Birmingham, plans to purchase the St. James Hotel and renovate it. Lewis said the franchise committee will meet in 10 days, but he doesn’t anticipate any problems. Lewis said after it’s been done, he will contact the city council.

Email newsletter signup

Lewis requested the city council to approve extending the contract between the city and Rhaglan until Feb. 28. The council plans to pass a resolution that would allow Mayor Darrio Melton and Council President Corey Bowie authority to extend the agreement another 60 days if its needed at Tuesday’s council meeting.

Negotiations about the mechanics stolen in the kitchen is a formality and Pete’s Insurance wants a Trane Unit. The Hilton specs must also be completed.

After the finance committee meeting and produce a finance agreement, they will meet with the lender. Lewis said the lender wants to invest in Selma.

“The lender’s going through a closing checklist,” Lewis said. “The final action is to execute the financial agreement.”

Councilwoman Miah Jackson said she’s grateful for Rhaglan helping to improve the city’s Riverfront area.

“I’m proud we have an investor willing to bring an attraction to our city,” Jackson said.

Selma City Schools Superintendent Dr. Avis Williams addressed the city council about the school tax, which had put in place since 1982. The $400,000 was earmarked for education and paid annually without a stop date.

Bowie and councilman John Leashore advised against taking away the education funding.

“In order to be a thriving city, we have to lock in with our school system,” Bowie said.

Williams said she knew the council was in a dilemma.

“I understand it’s a tough decision,” Williams said. “Closing those two schools was a tough decision, but the funding plays a big part in our schools.”