The Ava Hotel Update
When the announcement dropped in late 2006, it was a doozy. Oxford’s first boutique hotel, spa & condo development had been announced. A $25 million dollar project with a purported 100,000 square feet of space and located a half-mile from both Ole Miss & the Square. Upon completion in winter of 2007, it’d house 85 hotel rooms plus 16 condos. And to top it off, it’s location on Jackson Avenue was catty-corner to Star Liquor. Zing.
If you drive by the location today, though, you’ll see Star Liquor, but you won’t see the Ava Hotel. You’ll see an empty grass lot and some exposed dirt. With the economy the way it is, it may lead some folks to believe the project is dead in the water.
It ain’t. Just yet, at least.
Yesterday, Jondi Brackeen-Roberson – the hotel’s Executive Director – gave me an update on the property. Here’s the story …
First off, the project is still alive. Financing for the operation simply became a challenge due to the odd economy, and they’re currently working on completing terms which would enable them to kick things off again soon. Terms which could be completed – possibly – before September.
Secondly, the condo portion of the development has been scrapped (and wisely so). She, and the developers, are quite aware of the kudzu-like abundance of unsold condominiums in the market, and decided to simply shift those units to hotel rooms.
Portions still planned include the spa, fitness center, specialty shops, and the in-house restaurant.
It’s a development Oxford’s been in dire need of for years, and one which – I expect – becomes a resounding success after launch.
Let’s keep our fingers crossed.
[UPDATED 7.24.09 - ADDTL PICS]
Photo credit: Derek Moreton