The Andalusia City Council on Tuesday approved two items that put the city one step closer to having a hotel in the downtown area. 

Ordinance 2022-01 declares the Timmerman Building, commonly known as the First National Bank building, and the top two floors of the Andala Building, also known as Big Mike’s, as surplus, which is the first step needed for the city to sell property. 

Resolution 2022-01 sets up a development agreement between the City of Andalusia, Covington County, the Capital Improvement Cooperative District, Big Mike’s and Wood Properties, which plans to develop a boutique hotel.

The agreement calls for a limited lodging tax rebate to the developer and a property tax abatement, which will make the project viable in downtown Andalusia. 

“These are just the first steps toward making this dream a reality,” Mayor Earl Johnson told the council Tuesday night. “The resolution authorizes us to enter into the project with the other parties, but it does not mean the project is done. The next key step is for the Covington County Commission to also approve a similar resolution.”

The commission has given notice that the resolution, authorized by Amendment 725 to the Constitution of Alabama, will be on its agenda on January 11. 

The mayor said that if the commission approves the resolution, the developer can begin other due diligence to be done, including the architectural drawings of the project, and finalizing the financing. 

The development agreement calls for all parties to sign off on the final architectural design, so that the exterior appearance will be in keeping with the historical character of the downtown area. The hotel will be branded with a nationally-known company. 

“This is one of the biggest things to happen in Andalusia in many years,” Johnson said. “We were so fortunate to announce last year the repurposing of the Prestwood Building in a partnership agreement with CDG Engineering and Associates.

“That agreement, coupled with this new one, will address two of our oldest structures that have been sitting mostly empty for years,” he said. “It will also bring a much-needed asset to downtown – a first class hotel. With these votes tonight, the council has shown that it is behind the projects, 110 percent. Although there is still work to get done, you have helped put the project on the road to success.”