Eola as hotel again is good for Natchez

Published 1:52 am Thursday, April 27, 2017

Natchez’s most prominent downtown intersection may soon see some much-needed good things on the horizon.

Tuesday night, developer Robert Lubin told the Natchez Board of Aldermen that he has had a change of heart on the future of the former Natchez Eola Hotel building.

Initially, his plans were to transform the 1920s hotel into senior-living apartments. Those plans have not materialized in the more than two years since Lubin acquired the building.

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Many downtown residents, business owners and elected officials have complained about plans for the apartments, noting that having a historic hotel downtown is a better economic and tourism driver than apartments.

We agree that, if it can be made financially viable, Natchez would be best served with the Eola operating as a hotel. The 90-year-old building has served as a cornerstone of sorts for downtown.

Lubin is a private developer who owns the property and is paying taxes on it. What he does with the property is ultimately his decision, provided he lives within the bounds of city laws and ordinances.

Sadly, at the moment, having a vacant hotel in the heart of city, particularly with visible exterior damage, does not reflect well on Natchez’s downtown. A revitalized Eola could provide a huge boost of life back into the city.

We hope Lubin is able to make transforming the Eola back into a historic hotel profitable. It could mean a lot for Natchez and the downtown.