Downtown Inn making way for boutique hotel

Oxford StockBy Errol Castens

Daily Journal

OXFORD – Fences surrounding the Oxford Downtown Inn seem perfectly poetic: Covered in black barrier fabric, they herald the motel’s demise.

But the half-century-old structures’ demolition later this month also will lead to the construction of a new boutique hotel on the site, which is within sight of the downtown Square.

Chamblee Hospitality Group of Flowood, which has owned the property since 2002, and A.J. Capital Partners of Chicago have begun development of a 126-room boutique hotel.

“We are excited to get this project started. We are also excited to partner with a hospitality firm of A.J. Capital’s caliber as they are one of the most respected hotel and resort developers worldwide. We believe we have designed a destination hotel that Oxford’s residents, business owners and visitors have desired for a long time,” said Luke Chamblee.

Workers from Ohio-based International Content Liquidations Inc. have opened the motel to the public, holding what company President Frank Long calls “Oxford’s biggest garage sale.”

Fixtures, furniture, kitchen equipment, linens, laundry equipment, Oxford-themed decorations and even the penthouse’s hardwood flooring will be on sale 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday, until Nov. 20, when demolition is expected to begin.

The Downtown Inn plays several roles in Oxford’s history. It was the city’s first motel, built and operated for some 40 years as a Holiday Inn. It was also the site of the city’s first legal bar since Prohibition. Even the Inn’s placement has a bearing on Oxford’s earlier history: Cedar Oaks, a home that survived multiple threats during the Civil War, was moved from the northeast corner of Lamar Boulevard and Jefferson Avenue to make room for the motel.

Oxford’s Planning Commission and Board of Aldermen approved plans last year for a boutique hotel with high windows, ground-floor canopies and old-brick facades that Chamblee Co. spokesman Luke Chamblee said would “look like it’s 100 years old the day it’s finished.”

errol.castens@journalinc.com