Owner: Eola work to resume soon

Published 1:00 am Sunday, March 24, 2019


NATCHEZ — Construction on the renovation of the historic Eola Hotel at North Pearl and Franklin streets should resume within the next 100 days, the building’s owner said.

Robert Lubin, a Virginia attorney who 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, said work ceased after phase one of construction wrapped up.

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Lubin said he is in the process of securing financing to proceed with phase two of the project.

“We are still proceeding,” Lubin said. “We completed the first phase of the construction, which was the demolition and the remediation. We actually did a lot of work.”

Phase two, which is the final phase, will create new rooms inside the hotel that was built in 1927, Lubin said.

The Eola was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1979, and the application said the Eola “entered a period of great prosperity” in 1932 when Natchez started its pilgrimage tours of antebellum homes.

“The next phase is to actually go in there and to create the new rooms on the second part of the construction,” Lubin said. “We actually are waiting to pick our lender.”

Lubin said he has been working with Mississippi lenders but is considering all his options.

“We are working with Mississippi lenders, but that’s a bit of a complex transaction, and it seemed that every time we got down the road with the local banks they would kind of get stuck on some of the complexities,” Lubin said. “So now we are going to the typical lenders we use for our other transactions in other states, and we have got two that are very interested.”

Lubin said once the financing is in place he anticipates the second phase to be completed within 12 months.

“We want to be starting this summer, and we, really, in the perfect world, would like to be done by sometime next spring. That’s what I hope. It could be into early summer (2020).”

Lubin said plans are to complete the project as a hotel with a few apartments on the top floor.

“We are going to have a few apartments up there,” Lubin said. “It’s really just because the top is so nice. We are going to offer two or three. It’s really a hotel complex.”

Lubin said he is working with a partner who was involved in the White House Hotel project in Biloxi and the Markham building project in Gulfport.

“We would look at this in that same group of hotels,” Lubin said. “We’re really trying to make this something. It is a historic property worth taking and preserving its historic integrity, but at the same time make it a 21st century-type of hotel.”

Lubin said he would like to keep “Eola” in the name of the completed hotel.

“We still anticipate keeping Eola in its name,” Lubin said, “but we also want to give it a fresh start. We want to have 1920 meets 2020.”