Lifestyle + Hotel Group is actively pursuing other locations for a Southern Living hotel in Auburn, CEO and President of LHG Bill Shoaf told The Plainsman.
The hotel was initially planned for a site on North College Street that stretches from the University Inn to Regions. LHG had been working closely with Godbold Development Partners, who owns that land, to reach an agreement to put the hotel in the heart of downtown Auburn.
“That whole situations seems to be unraveling,” Shoaf said.
About a week ago, the two entities negotiating to locate the Southern Living Hotel on North College Street informed City Manager Jim Buston they had reached an impasse, Buston told The Plainsman.
Mayor Ron Anders said the hotel would have replaced a dilapidated portion of downtown, including the old University Inn.
"I thought it was a two for one," Anders said. "We would get a great project with great businesses in downtown Auburn and we were going to take away maybe downtown Auburn's greatest eyesore so for all that I'm very disappointed that apparently it's not moving forward."
Shoaf said he cannot speak to what Godbold will do, but LHG has given Godbold notice of the active search and still plans to build a Southern Living Hotel in the downtown urban core.
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“We’ve just run out of time, so we’re actively looking at alternative sites,” Shoaf said.
LHG hopes to lock down a location soon, Shoaf said.
“We’ve been ready to go for going on eight months,” Shoaf said. “We’re having some very good preliminary conversations with different people. I’m confident we’re going to be able to find a great site in the downtown core of Auburn to do our project.”
Regardless of the location, the Southern Living hotel will still feature the same amenities as the plans for the North College Street location did which include a rooftop lounge and a restaurant in coordination with Bo Jackson.
“We’ll have all the things we were going to have on College Street, we’re just going to pick all that up and find a new home for it,” Shoaf said.
Godbold could not be reached for comment at the time of publication.
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