‘We want action’: City board to rule Monday on future of Asam Hotel

Published 6:39 am Wednesday, November 15, 2023

The fate of the Asam Hotel, formerly the Dixiana Motel, could be decided during a hearing at Monday’s meeting of the Vicksburg Board of Mayor and Aldermen.

That’s when the board is expected to decide whether to allow owner Sam Malik to continue working on the hotel at 4041 Washington St. or move to take it down. The board on Nov. 9 met for more than 20 minutes with Malik to discuss the problems at the hotel before deferring the matter until Monday.

The board previously met with Malik on Sept. 20 and at that time gave Malik 30 days to show progress by a certified contractor correcting numerous code violations or the city would demolish the estimated 73-year-old building.

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At that meeting, city code enforcement officer David Miller discussed his experience with Malik concerning the code violations, adding the city’s Community Development Department was receiving complaints about the condition of the buildings and the public nuisance the issues were creating.

“He was trying to give me more promises,” Miller said. “But I said at this point, ‘We don’t want promises, we want action,’ and where we stand, as far as permitted development, we want to remove the structures; we want to clean the property up and remedy the city of this nuisance.”

Miller said he told Malik that before the city could do anything, Malik had to come to the board, outline his plans and have a certified general contractor with a plan of action from that contractor before the work on the hotel could move forward.

After the Sept. 20 meeting, Malik sent the city a six-page letter outlining his plans to renovate the buildings. According to the letter, the renovation project would be completed by May 30, 2025. Malik met with the board about the hotel on Nov. 7 but the board tabled the matter to Nov. 9.

Community Development Director Jeff Richards responded to Malik’s letter on Nov. 9, saying Malik and his contractor have not met with the community development staff to discuss plans to bring the property up to city building codes.

“An electrical contractor did pull a permit for the work on the property and Mr. Malik pulled up a building permit but no work has been inspected to my knowledge,” Richardson said.

He said community development employees worked with Malik to address the hotel’s problems and he was given extra time to do the work.

“The safety of his tenants and the rooms he rents have not seen any improvements,” Richardson said. “Numerous rooms were found to be dangerous and condemned. It is our opinion that these safety problems be addressed before the rooms are inhabited again. The property has seen improvements but that is due to continued inspections.”

Malik told the board at the Nov. 9 meeting he has hired a contractor and an electrical contractor to perform the necessary work at the hotel, telling the board work is underway.

“We did go through the scope of work with help from Mr. Miller and Jeff,” he said. “We have identified and documented the scope of work. The scope work has been already started.”

Malik said Tuesday he has contractors working to bring the buildings up to code and work has been completed on one building adjacent to the hotel to repair the stairs leading to a second-floor room. He said two larger buildings behind the hotel office are part of the second phase of the renovation project, adding he is trying to comply with the city’s requests.

Both buildings have “for sale” signs on them but Malik said the signs are for a 12.5-acre tract behind the hotel. He is not selling the hotel, he said.

When the issue comes to a vote Monday, Mayor Georg Flaggs Jr. said he plans to follow the recommendation of Community Development.

Aldermen Michael Mayfield and Alex Monsour are undecided.

Mayfield said he will meet with Richardson and the code inspectors about the hotel before Monday to discuss several issues with the buildings.

Monsour said he wants to take more time looking at the problem.

“Whatever happens, we’re going to make sure he follows the code,” Monsour said. “We’re going to keep on him.”




About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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