By JACK WEATHERLY
The Cotton House hotel will arrive a bit later than expected, but its 95 guestrooms will be ready for the picking in mid-June.
That’s the word from the developers and managers of the upscale hostelry that will soon dominate downtown Cleveland.
They wanted to be “confident” that everything was just right for the opening, hence the delay from spring to early summer, said Kaley Volkman of Green Olive Media.
The latest detail – and stamp of approval – as the plan matures is from the Southern Living Hotel Collection, which describes itself as “an exclusive, curated network of hotels, inns and resorts across the South that embody the essence of Southern hospitality and charm.”
That means the Cotton House meets the standards of the editors of Southern Living magazine, the granddaddy of the South’s regional lifestyle magazines, one that debuted in February 1966 as “an edition of Progressive Farmer,” whose roots ran 80 years deeper in the region’s soil.
Oxford-based LRC2 Properties of Oxford is the developer and the MMI Hotel Group of Flowood will manage the property.
It will fly the Marriott Tribute Portfolio flag. And it will have a global reach.
Luke Chamblee, president of LRC2 Properties, whose properties includes The Graduate hotel in Oxford, said when he announced the $17.6 million project in July 2017 that “we couldn’t be more excited to be partnering with the largest hotel reservation system in the world.”
Chamblee’s Cotton House Hospitality LLC was approved by the Mississippi Development Authority through state law 57-6-1 for a 30 percent reimbursement over 15 years if certain milestones are met.
The city approved a tax increment financing, or TIF, district, by which tax revenues from the project will be diverted to it for a limited time. The bond issue connected with it will yield $2 million toward financing the construction of the hotel.
Payroll will range from $1.2 million in the first year to $1.5 million in the 10th year, assuming 100 employees throughout the period.
The hotel will feature:
·95 guest rooms, including six suites, all of which will feature a 50-inch high-definition television sets, and Sweet South Cotton Towels by Griffin, Ga.-based 1888 Mills.
·Dining provided by Cleveland native Chef Cole Ellis. In April 2019, Southern Living editors named Ellis one of the ten best chefs in the South.
·More than 3,200 square feet of meeting and private event space.
It will accommodate pilgrims on the Mississippi Blues Trail and visitors at The Grammy Museum Mississippi and Delta State University.
“Having grown up in the Delta, the opening of Cotton House, Cleveland is a milestone for the MMI family. We are enthusiastic followers of the trajectory of the New South, and this hotel showcases our commitment to delivering authentic experiences and celebrating our beloved Delta,” Micajah Sturdivant, MMI Hotel Group president, said in a release.
“Cotton House . . . [will offer] top-notch amenities, two full-service restaurants, and unique event spaces,” said McAfee.
Cotton House will offer a rotating art collection and Balance Fitness studio. Additionally, Cotton House, Cleveland offers multiple event spaces for corporate meetings, weddings, and any other celebratory occasion. The Donelson Room, the hotel’s signature banquet hall, offers 2,500 square feet of space anc can seat up to 250 guests.
Bar Fontaine is a 728-square-foot rooftop space with seating for up to 5o guests.
The hotel will feature two full-service restaurants by James Beard Award semifinalist Ellis, who opened Delta Meat Market in the heart of Cleveland in 2013 as a butcher shop and boutique grocer of fine Southern foods. Delta Meat Market will serve counter-style breakfast and lunch, and full-service dinner seven days a week, in addition to a satellite grab-and-go outpost.
Ellis’ Bar Fontaine will serve modern, European-inspired small plates alongside craft cocktails on the rooftop patio.
MMI Hotel Group has owned and operated nearly 50 hotels around the American South since 1956. Now led by the third generation of the family business, MMI Hotel Group has holdings in Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, and Texas.
The menu at Bar Fontaine will be focused on the interchange of cultures found in the region, such as Risi E Bisi with rice middlins, stewed field peas, preserved lemon and aleppo pepper; and Polpette alla Bologna with pork meatballs and raisins, pastas such as Cacio e Pepe Fusilli and Ricotta Gnudi expertly paired with a robust list of craft cocktails, wine by the glass and bottle, and an extensive bourbon collection.
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