Boutique hotels OK’d for downtown Oxford

By Errol Castens/NEMS Daily Journal

OXFORD – For decades, Oxford has had one hotel near the Square – the Downtown Inn and Suites, which started out as a Holiday Inn. Soon, it may have three.
Three entities – Oxford Planning Commission, Oxford Preservation Commission and the Courthouse Square Preservation Commission – have approved two proposed boutique hotels, albeit not without vigorous debate at times.
Both hotels are planned as 27-room ventures.
One is proposed by the Alger Investment Group as The University Hotel at 1430 University Ave., adjacent to Sneed’s Hardware, with ground-level parking and most rooms on the second floor.
“There is near the Square particularly a need for an upscale, boutique, personal service-oriented hotel,” said architect Corey Alger, one of the project’s principals. “We’re going to be able to provide in-room dining if they like, all the way to in-room manicures, pedicures. We’ll cater to the individual need.”
The other new proposal is on the corner of Jefferson Avenue and 11th Street, between the Barksdale-Isom House and Oxford Floral. It is planned as a three-story building with restaurant, spa-salon and guest rooms.
Parking will be in an uncovered lot across Jefferson Avenue.
Another boutique hotel, The Ava, was planned several years ago for a site just west of downtown on Jackson Avenue next to the bike path that occupies the former bike path.
That project languished after the initial clearing was done, and the site continues to be an eyesore and an erosion problem.
Mary-Kathryn Millner, director of tourism for the Oxford Convention and Visitors Bureau, said the new hotels, however, will be welcome additions.
“In terms of rounding out our tourism offerings, it would be great to have a couple of boutique hotels specializing in personal service,” she said.
“We get a lot of calls from people who are looking for high-service properties – ladies going on a girls’ weekend of shopping and eating out. That’s the kind of place a lot of them would be looking for.”

Contact Errol Castens at (662) 281-1069 or errol.castens@djournal.com.