Eola project is stalled

Published 12:04 am Sunday, March 17, 2019

NATCHEZ — Renovation of the historic Eola Hotel on the corner of North Pearl and Franklin streets appears to have halted over the past month, but the pause in progress appears to only be temporary.

Virginia attorney Robert Lubin purchased the property in 2014 and has since said he would renovate the building back into a 70- to 80-room hotel with a few apartments along the top floor.

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A few months after demolition started to prep for the project last November, however, work on the site has ceased.

Lubin did not respond to messages seeking comment for this story, and Natchez Mayor Darryl Grennell said he is hopeful the project would start back again soon.

“I was informed that they were changing architects and contractors on the project,” Grennell said. “I’m just really eager to get that project underway, to get the Eola back and get it open.”

Natchez city planning and zoning director Rico Giani said Lubin recently hired a new architect on the project and that the delay could be caused by a slow turnover between contractors.

“I cannot say exactly what is going on outside of speculation, but I do know it’s only temporary,” Giani said. “People need to remain positive.”

A spokesperson for Encompass, a construction company of La Grange, Kentucky, said Encompass is still under contract with Lubin on the project but deferred to Lubin for any comment on the status of the project.

Meanwhile debris from the project is strewn on the grounds around the project visible to the public.

“We’ve tried contacting them about putting a fence up with an ad, but that never really came to fruition and the city can’t require that,” Giani said. “We require all of the insurance and liability so nothing is being dropped on people’s heads while they’re walking. Construction is ugly, but when it’s done it will be great.”