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Natchez Preservation Commission approves plan for Eola hotel
from Staff Reports - NEWS
December 21, 2018 -

By John Mott Coffey

NATCHEZ, Miss. – The Natchez Preservation Commission has approved the first of the exterior changes being made to the Eola hotel’s renovation for it to reopen next year.

The commission on Tuesday consented to the Eola redevelopers' plans for tearing down the wall on Pearl Street that fronted the hotel's courtyard. The wall will be replaced by planters and landscaping. The courtyard will be refurbished without the fountain that was there.

Closed in December 2014, the Eola has been the centerpiece of downtown Natchez since its construction in 1927 as the city's tallest building at Main and Pearl streets.

Once Natchez’ grandest hotel, the Eola closed four years ago when an investment group led by Rob Lubin bought it from Bob Dean. Plans to restore it had been stalled, but work began a month or so ago with the aim to have the Eola reopening as a hotel by the end of 2019.

Lubin is a Virginia-based attorney who specializes in getting foreign residents who want to live in the U.S. to invest in American projects. He’s the managing partner in American Investor Immigration Funds, whose website reports an estimated $22 million cost for bringing the Eola back to life.

Plans call for the seven-floor structure’s hotel guest rooms to be enlarged and two floors being converted to “senior-living” apartments, according to AIIF’s website. The hotel’s event venue is also being refurbished.

After Lubin purchased the Eola in 2014, extensive plans were presented for it to be made into apartments. However, Lubin changed that in 2017 and assented to public pleas for it to remain as a hotel. Lubin said then that blueprints were to be reconfigured for a 75-room hotel.

The Natchez Preservation Commission administers regulations that ensure such developments don’t impair the appearance of the city’s historic architectural setting. The commission was told Tuesday a few more exterior changes of the Eola will be presented in future meetings.

The Eola restoration is being financed with the help of a federal program for foreign investors to put money into such projects and be able to legally immigrate to the United States. The so-called EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program also helped fund the construction of Magnolia Bluffs Casino in Natchez, which opened in December 2012. Lubin, who previously owned the Eola in the 1990s, is a business partner in Magnolia Bluffs, which also has a Natchez hotel of the same name. | © 2014 | All Rights Reserved
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