Rent Bunkie's Bailey Hotel for $1 a month lease/purchase

An approved business plan could save historic building

Have you always wanted to own a hotel? For $1 a month and a really good idea on how to make it work, that dream can become a reality.

The Bailey Hotel in Bunkie is being offered for $1 a month on a 24-month lease. Prospective tenants must have a business plan approved by the current owners. The plan also needs to address how the tenant would renovate the historic property.

“This is really to help somebody in starting their business,” said Robert Burke, who is handling the leasing. “But you must have a plan. You must know how you’re going to get your money and how you’re going to make money.”

At any time during the two years, the tenant may exercise an option to purchase the Bailey.

Zebro, an Alexandria-based investment group, owns the hotel and purchased the hotel when it was in foreclosure. Burke was hired earlier this year to market the old hotel.

“I have a personal love for the building and I don’t want to see it waste away,” Burke said. “We have had some interest from groups to buy the building.” He said some of the interest has come from foundation groups and government agencies.”

Burke said those entities would be good for the Bunkie area, but he would not identify the parties at this time because discussions are in the preliminary stages.

Bunkie Mayor Bruce Coulon is excited there is some movement being made to save the Bailey.

“I want to see this historic building saved,” Coulon said. “It’s a landmark and people in the area want to see it restored and opened as a business again.”

Josephine Ernest built the hotel between 1907 and 1909, when it was known as the Hotel Ernest. R. Lee Bailey purchased the hotel in 1918 and renamed it.

The hotel at the intersection of Magnolia and Walnut streets was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1999.

It served as the commercial and social center of Bunkie for most of the first half of the 20th century.

It was expanded in the 1920s and given a facelift in 1941, when its signature Colonial Revival porch and entrance were added.

The Bailey operated as a hotel through the 1960s. After being closed for about 40 years, the Bailey was reopened as a hotel in 2001 by Bunkie businessman Tommy McNabb, before closing again in 2010.

“This does two things,” Burke said. “One, it leads to a future sale, hopefully. Two, it brings activity back to a historic property. It’s such a beautiful piece of architecture and has so much history, you hate to see it go to waste. Instead of seeing it fall apart, this could be a neat thing to bring to Central Louisiana.”

Vandalism has been a problem with the old hotel.

Burke said those arrested appear to just be released with little or no consequences. He said there is some vandalism that still needs to be repaired.

The hotel has 34 rooms, a large ballroom and an area that once housed a restaurant and bar.

Some rooms in one wing of the building were “stripped down to the studs” to fix a leak in the roof, Burke said, and would have to be redone.

That gives the new operator an opportunity to reconfigure that part of the building, he added, including possibly combining rooms to make larger rooms or suites.

Burke said the owners are open to any type of reuse of the building, not just as a hotel. For example, there could be one or more retail business or office located on the bottom floor and apartments in the former guest rooms.

A few years ago, the building was being considered for a women’s rehab center.

Those wishing more information or to present a plan for consideration should email Burke at rburkerealtor@aol.com.

Burke said the thought right now is “geared toward a hotel, but it could be anything,

“There’s so much it can be.”

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