Hotel plan outlined

Published 5:30 am Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Owners ask city for $20K economic grant 

New owners of the former Brewton Motor Inn are asking the city to help cover $20,000 in clean up costs for the $3 million renovation project.

The property, which was purchased at a February auction by Sapphire Hospitality LLC for $58,300 and also known as the Ramada Inn, was the topic of discussion at Monday’s council meeting.

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The property was shutdown nearly two years ago after a leaky roof made the rooms unsafe for guests, and it’s because of that damage that new owner Atul Patel is asking the city for a $20,000 economic development grant to remove the damaged materials.

Patel outlined his plan for 80-plus room “midscale boutique” hotel with an outdoor pool and banquet and meeting room facilities before asking for a city-backed economic grant. Local business owners can apply for up to $20,000 in grant funds. A public hearing is required before council can vote on the award and will be held on June 13. Patel said property cleanup costs are estimated at more than $50,000.

“So that money, if awarded, will be spent wisely,” Patel said to the council.

The company is not new to Brewton or to the business arena. It owns and operates 25 properties, including five hotels and two Brewton convenience stores, Spuds I and Spuds II.

“We don’t take over properties to fail,” Patel said of the business ventures. “It’s our goal to take a diamond in the rough and make it better or we take a performing business and make it better.”

Patel said residents will see economic and atheistic boon to the area once the project is completed. Estimated work time is nine months, he said.

“People ask, ‘Why Brewton? Why this property?” he said. “We saw the need here. Citizens, businesses and industry all say Brewton needs a hotel. We agree. The competitive set is sub-standard. The city need’s a pride and joy, and we want to add that.”

Patel said the hotel will not be a branded name such as a Holiday Inn Express, but it will have the same look and feel of “what people expect in a midscale hotel.” It’s name will be announced at a future date, he said.

The two-story structure will feature a new elevator, updated interior design and décor, all new electrical, mechanical and plumbing.

“The building is beautiful, and we didn’t want to impede the beauty of the hotel,” Patel said. “It has its own charm. What we will do is change the image on Ala. Hwy. 31 and provide a place where the people of Brewton are proud to say that this is our hotel.”

Patel said the facility will employ 20-30, with the majority of those in the housekeeping department.  It is expected to generate $1 million in annual sales and $20,000 in annual lodging tax collections for the city.

In return for the investment, the company is asking the city also asking for a five-year “understanding to get a foothold in the local economy” and support.

“We would like to see the city recruit more industry and host more events that will draw people to Brewton,” he said.

Patel wasn’t the only person to ask for an economic development grant. Chelsea Madden, owner of the Dot Shop, also submitted a request Monday.

Madden said her business, which is located next to Antigone’s, will employ three fulltime and two part-time workers and will feature wooden décor and offer painting parties.

A public hearing on her grant request will also be held on June 13, beginning at 4:30 p.m.