ALEXANDRIA, La. - The historic Hotel Bentley in Alexandria has been an abandoned building for more than eight years, but that could soon be changing as soon as next month. A local business owner, Michael Jenkins, has a purchase agreement to get the hotel doors open again. News Channel 5's Nolan Crane reports.
The historic Hotel Bentley in Alexandria was built more than 100 years ago. But in 2004, the Bentley shut its doors and now sits empty. But local entrepreneur and business owner Michael Jenkins says he wants to make downtown Alexandria the place to be, which is why he has a purchase agreement to buy the Hotel Bentley.
"It's just what is sounds like, it's a purchase agreement, there's always moving parts and a deal is never done until it's done and there are a lot of things that have to fall into place," says Michael Jenkins.
But Jenkins is already making plans for what he envisions for the Hotel Bentley.
"The entire building, outside, top to bottom, completely in the inside, everything will be stripped out and put back in brand new condition," says Michael Jenkins.
Jenkins says if the purchase agreement is finalized he will turn this building into 96 hotel rooms and 28 condominiums.
"We've been told that people want to live downtown, they want condominiums. They would have a situation where they would have all of the amenities of the Bentley, they have the restaurant there, they have room service," says Michael Jenkins.
Some people who work in downtown say Jenkins' plans means good news for nearby businesses.
"I think it's positive for everybody in this community, I think it will mean new jobs. I think it will obviously mean some construction in the short term," says Brent Caplan.
"I don't think the Bentley alone will do it, but it's definitely a good foot forward," says Kiefer Likens.
Jenkins says a good way for downtown Alexandria to move forward, is to go back and revitalize a piece of its past.
"It's one of the center pieces of Alexandria, always has been since 1908," says Michael Jenkins.
Jenkins wouldn't tell us how much he has agreed to pay for the Hotel Bentley. He has until Aug. 31 to back out of the deal. He says if everything goes as planned, construction will begin the first week of September.