SELMA, Ala. (WSFA) - It’s been a journey, but the historic St. James Hotel in Selma has reopened.
Rhaglan Hospitality took ownership of the hotel nearly two years ago, and Tuesday the company held a ribbon cutting.
The hotel, which has been around since 1837, has been through several owners. Two years ago the city of Selma sold it to Rhaglan Hospitality out of Birmingham for about $300,00.
Rhaglan Hospitality spent in the neighborhood of $5 million renovating and cleaning up the property, including adding a new staircase. There are 55 rooms and a spectacular view of the Alabama River.
“A lot of work has gone into this. The interesting thing is that this is not my first ribbon cutting for St. James. I was around when we did it before,” said Mayor James Perkins.
What makes the St. James unique is the fact it’s the only pre-Civil War hotel remaining on the riverfront in the country.
St. James will top out with 50 employees. For now with COVID-19 in the mix, they’re holding at 35. Some believe this could be the catalyst to turn things around in Selma.
“Because in the past too many people had been spending the night in Montgomery - drive over to Selma, walk over the bridge and go back to Montgomery,” said Alabama Department of Tourism Director Lee Sentell.