Trace Inn goes to foreclosure sale

By Emily Le Coz/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – The former Trace Inn will go on the auction block next month, but the city of Tupelo hopes no one will bid.
Tupelo wants to acquire the dilapidated property but first must go through the foreclosure process, which includes an auction at the Lee County Courthouse.
It’s set for March 15.
“Anytime you have a sale, there is certainly that prospect that somebody buys it,” said city attorney John Hill. “We don’t believe there will be a lot of interest there because the buildings are going to have to be demolished … and there are tax concerns.”
The Trace Inn has been vacant more than two years, since its most recent owner, JSK Hospitality, filed bankruptcy after a series of bad decisions and code violations.
Built in the 1960s, the west Tupelo establishment once was a popular destination for tourists and townsfolk alike.
But it’s now badly deteriorated, and Tupelo slated it for demolition. Because it’ll cost an estimated $90,000 to tear it down, city leaders are trying to gain ownership of the land.
Renasant Bank, which held the mortgage for the property, transferred it the city. That makes Tupelo responsible for the foreclosure sale next month.
According to Lee County records, the assessed value of the 5.3-acre land alone is $160,000.
If nobody bids, the city will go to the next step: taking all third-party interests who’d purchased debt on the property to court. Each will have an opportunity to fight the attempt or to negotiate with the city on a buyout.
It’s unclear what the city will do with the site if it gains ownership.
The buildings, however, definitely will come down.
emily.lecoz@journalinc.com