Talk of riverfront hotel premature, leaders say

Published 12:00 am Friday, July 27, 2001

VIDALIA, La. – Talk that the signing of an agreement for a nationwide hotel chain to locate a hotel on the Vidalia riverfront is premature, say officials associated with the Vidalia Landing project.

In early June – and again in mid-July – Vidalia Mayor Hyram Copeland stated that a national chain is expected to break ground in late fall on a hotel will have about 100 rooms and cost about $750,000 to build.

But Copeland said Thursday that negotiations with the chain are still not far enough along to name the company.

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&uot;Nothing’s concrete at this point,&uot;&160;he said. But when asked if the hotel is still expected to break ground this fall, Copeland said, &uot;Hopefully they will.&uot;

Sidney Murray Jr., chairman of the Riverfront Authority, said any signing of an agreement with a hotel chain &uot;is still a ways away.&uot;

&uot;We’ve had other people talk to us before and they haven’t come here,&uot; Murray said. &uot;It looks like this one might, (but) we can’t say how close we are to a deal.&uot;

A locally owned steak and seafood restaurant should break ground at Vidalia Landing later this year, probably in early fall, but Murray and Copeland still decline to name its developer.

Ground should also be broken in the fall on the riverfront for a medical complex featuring imaging, ambulatory surgery, industrial medicine facilities and specialists’ offices.

A riverwalk has already been finished at Vidalia Landing, and Riverview RV Park is already operating at the property’s south end. An amphitheater being built north of the Mississippi River bridge is about 85 percent complete, Murray said.

Officials have said that when the Vidalia Landing riverfront project is complete, it could also include condominiums, recreational fields and other attractions.

It is estimated that the development, which has been in the works since 1992, could bring 400 jobs to a parish with high unemployment.