Couple makes history as only Black hotel owners in Memphis

Published: Jan. 17, 2023 at 6:50 PM CST
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - A Maryland couple’s recent investment has marked them as being the only Black hotel owners in the City of Memphis.

Dr. Amina Gilyard James and Norland James recently purchased the 70-room Quality Inn on Old Austin Peay Highway and Raleigh LaGrange Road for $3.85 million, making it the only Black-owned hotel in Memphis.

The couple calls it a “divine intervention.”

Although they are first-time hotel owners in the area, the couple has owned several other real estate properties.

“At that point, we decided to go to the next level and where we became limited partners for two hotels,” Norland said.

Between 2019 and 2021, the couple invested in two Hilton-branded hotels in Oklahoma and Georgia.

By 2022, it was their goal to purchase their first hotel property. They closed on the Raleigh location on Dec. 27.

Plans are already in place to begin a $500,000 property improvement plan beginning later in the month.

But, upgrading their new investment isn’t the only goal.

They plan to inspire other local business owners to invest more in their businesses and even inspire other young entrepreneurs to own real estate, along with enhancing the quality of the Raleigh community altogether.

“How we can support certain incentives going on with reimagining Raleigh. We’re not going anywhere tomorrow. You know we’ll be here for a long time. So, we definitely want to get involved and have a positive impact where we can.” Dr. Amina says.

The hotel industry was heavily impacted in 2020 at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

But, the City of Memphis’ positive post-pandemic recovery rate made the Bluff City the ideal place for the husband-and-wife team to begin their hotel ownership journey.

The couple says they are excited to support the community where they can.

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