Hotel developer: We will market Natchez

Published 10:53 am Thursday, May 17, 2007

Hotel developer Warren Reuther hopes his hotel, managed in concert with the convention center, will be a springboard for tourism.

Reuther was in town Wednesday, checking up on the progress of his hotel, the Country Inn and Suites being constructed across from the convention center.

Reuther said his company had plans to do more than just build a hotel.

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A 1969 fountain on the bluff, across Broadway Street from the hotel site, hasn’t splashed for a long time, he said.

“(When it was built,) it was donated to the city by Rotary,” he said. “Rotary has agreed to get it working, and we’ll maintain it.”

He also has grander plans to light the bridge, he said.

The Mississippi Department of Transportation has said for years they planned to light the bridge. Now, they’ll have help, Reuther said.

“MDOT is involved, Entergy is involved, the energy company in Louisiana is involved,” he said. “We’re trying to make it happen.”

His company, New Orleans Hotel Consultants, will take over management of the convention center in October. The hotel is scheduled to be completed in March of next year, but might be finished as early as February, he said.

The pairing of the two facilities will be a good start in marketing Natchez as a destination, he said.

“I think y’all do a great job marketing right now,” Reuther said. “You just need more money.”

Reuther said his company would help draw conventions and groups to the area more than ever.

“Marketing is key to letting people know what Natchez is about — marketing the antebellum homes, the river the antique shopping and all the good things you have here,” he said. “We are going to market our hotel and help get the name out there.”

Tourism Director Walter Tipton said he was glad to see Reuther in town.

“It’s good to have hotel project people here who are interested enough to come and check on their progress,” Tipton said. “They’re already thinking about ways they can improve the site and the city. That’s a great benefit to us.”