By Cady Inabinett
Questions were raised at a recent council meeting about the progress made on a hotel development project passed by the previous Montevallo city council.
The project, which was approved last August, has rarely been mentioned by the current city council, and has very little information publicly available online.
The hotel project was approved through the Victory Through Accessibility project package passed by the city council on Aug. 10.
The package included plans to renovate the former Victory Auto and Collision Center in order to house a tenant—currently slated to be Interstellar Ginger Beer and Exploration Company, and plans to construct a storm shelter in addition to the hotel project.
However, while progress has been made on both of the Victory and storm shelter projects, there has been notably less progress made on the hotel.
At the city council meeting on Feb. 22, Montevallo citizen C.P. Pierson requested an update on the hotel project and suggested that the council provides a monthly update, and he said people who visit Montevallo, “need places to sleep, and I feel we shouldn’t be sending people to Alabaster, Calera, Pelham and Birmingham to sleep when we can finish this particular project and have a place for people to stay here.”
The city council made no comment on the project at this meeting or at any meeting since.
However, when reached for comment, Mayor Rusty Nix was able to share some information about the city’s plans for the project.
Nix said that hotel chain, Cobblestone Hotels, has presented a package, and would be the hotel developer, meaning they would construct and manage the hotel.
The exact location is still uncertain though, with Nix saying the city is currently looking at a site located near the softball field and a site located behind the Victory building.
However, there are hang-ups with both of these potential locations.
The city does not currently own land near the softball field, and Nix said the current price for the site is about $200,000 more than the appraised value. He said he was hoping to “find another investor” to purchase that land.
As for the site behind the Victory building, Nix said it is currently divided into “three or four” development parcels. The city would need to get these parcels condensed back into one before a hotel could be built on that site.
Nix also commented on how successful a hotel in Montevallo might be.
He said over the past 25 years, there have been three different studies conducted on if Montevallo would be able to sustain a hotel.
Two of these studies said that it would be feasible, while one did not. Nix also said that the most recent study that was conducted concluded that if a 55 room hotel were built, an average of 37 rooms would be occupied per night. Though, he also added he felt that these numbers are “a little inflated,” and that occupancy would be more variable.
None of these studies are currently available online.
It will take a while for a hotel in Montevallo to become a reality, with Nix predicting that the project could take “nine months to a year” to complete, saying “there’s a lot more to it” than what is seen at city council meetings.