Photo by Robert Noles
By Morgan Bryce
For decades, the Davis-Dyar building was a hub of industry and commerce in downtown Opelika. Now, after nearly two years of renovations, the building is set to return as Opelika’s newest boutique hotel.
After several years of attempting to purchase the property, Opelika-based historical renovation business Marsh Ventures purchased the property in 2014, assuring the owner that the plan was to restore the building to its former glory. Nelson Marsh, who serves as the creative director for Marsh Ventures, said that despite the building’s age, it was in good condition when they bought it.
“ …The state of the building was sound, which is rare for us. The electrical flow here was great, and we didn’t have to re-wire the whole building,” Marsh said. “The plumbing was less modern and probably the biggest challenge, but most everything else was up to code. We really had a great springing-off point when we started the renovations.”
Other major projects in restoring the building included removing and rebuilding the building’s front façade and the central tower, which according to Marsh, is one of the tallest points in the city. Those projects are now done, and the bulk of the work is taking place on the interior as they prepare for hotel construction.
Currently, the building serves as an office space for Marsh Ventures and event center known as Southerly Warehouse, which Marsh says is booked every weekend.
“With the hotel opening up soon, we’re looking for a place to relocate the event business. It surprised us how it took off initially and we’re going to try to keep that going too,” Marsh said.
He said that most of the building plans for the hotel have been approved, and that they will commence construction soon, noting that it will take approximately one year to complete the building’s transition to becoming a hotel. Once completed, the hotel will have a total of 88 rooms, with rooms running between $120-$240 a night.
“Opelika used to have some incredible hotels in downtown, and sadly, they’re all gone now. That’s one of the last pieces our downtown needs to be great,” Marsh said. “We need a place for people to stay when they come here.”
Besides beautifying and re-purposing the building, Marsh said he hopes that the building’s return is two-fold.
“Opelika needs to take this next step in the hospitality department, and this hotel will bring the downtown to a place it hasn’t been in 50 years. I think this will be the tipping point, and it’s going to snowball out of control and we’ll see all sorts of things happening, including the expansion of downtown,” Marsh said.