Vintage Mississippi hotel from days of Route 66 and cross-country travel in danger of being demolished

Published 5:42 am Friday, September 22, 2023

A landmark Mississippi hotel from the heydays of motor courts and cross-country travel on highways like Route 66 is in danger of being torn down.

The Board of Mayor and Aldermen on Monday gave Asam Hotel owner Sam Mali 30 days to show progress by a certified contractor correcting numerous code violations or the city would demolish the estimated 73-year-old building formerly known as the Dixiana Motel.

City code enforcement officer David Miller discussed his experience with Mali concerning the code violations, adding he contacted Mali on Jan. 31 concerning progress in correcting the problems. He said the city’s Community Development Department was receiving complaints about the condition of the buildings and the public nuisance they were creating.

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On Aug. 14, Miller said community development officials decided to get the board’s approval to remove some of the buildings on the property and clean the site. He said he met with Mali on Sept. 15 about the buildings.

“He was trying to give me more promises, 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 Mali that before the city could do anything, “(Mali) has to come to the board, tell us his plans, have a certified general contractor with a plan of action from that contractor before we can move forward or do anything else.”

Mali apologized for delaying the work on the hotel, saying he had a family problem.

“I educated my children in Canada, so I travel more frequently,” Mali said. “For that reason, I was not able to start the construction.”

Mali said he had been able to make progress on improvements. At the close of the meeting,

Mayor George Flaggs Jr. told Mali he had 30 days to begin work and show progress in the repairs.

“If you show progress, you get another 30 days,” Flaggs told him.

If Mali failed to show progress, he said, the city would take the buildings down.

Built in 1949, the then-Dixiana Motel was a major hotel in the city boasting 29 modern rooms with air conditioning and an adjoining restaurant. It was AAA-recommended and approved, and a member of the United Motor Courts Association.

In later years, the motel fell into disrepair and was the source of complaints from residents about the property and the people who hung around the motel.

The Dixiana was purchased by Mali and renamed Asam Hotel in the last five years.