City OKs first step for developers seeking public funds for new Eola Hotel; work expected to begin sometime this year
Published 7:50 pm Wednesday, February 22, 2023
NATCHEZ — By a four-to-one vote, the Natchez Board of Aldermen approved the first of what are expected to be a number of measures to direct public money to the developers and investors of the Eola Hotel property.
The measure approved in a special meeting Wednesday night will send money in the form of tourism taxes collected and paid by the hotel once it is open, to go back to the hotel to pay off bond funds required to develop the property.
In August 2021, it was announced that a development team involving Hayes Dent, president of Public Strategies and an affiliate with Endeavour Corp., a development group owned by Randy Roth, and Robert Lubin, who owns the Eola Hotel and originally developed the Magnolia Bluffs Casino, which he has since sold, would renovate and reopen the 1927-built Eola Hotel. Dickie Brennan, the famed New Orleans restaurateur was and remains a part of the Eola project, said Natchez Mayor Dan Gibson.
Development of the property was held up as construction costs soared and changes to the project and additional investment were made necessary because of those high costs.
At a special meeting of the Mayor and Board of Aldermen Wednesday night, Natchez Inc. Executive Director Chandler Russ and Chris Gouras, an economic development consultant who works for the Eola’s developers, discussed the complexity of public and private funds that will go into the project.
It is expected the project will cost $32 million from start to finish. Developers are seeking about $4 million of that from taxpayer funds.
“This is a wonderful project as you