ROANOKE, Va. – The Dumas Hotel Legacy Inc. has signed a contract with Total Action for Progress Inc. for the purchase of the historic Dumas Hotel downtown, officials with the company said.
"This thing is happening. It's a significant mile marker to purchase the ownership of the whole community of this historic and sacred property. And that's what it means to us," said Martin Jeffrey.
The contract execution comes after 16 months of the DHL Inc. working with a growing number of community supporters and partners.
"The purchase of this building is huge. And the only way that we got a signed contract is that God has seen fit to give this to the community," said Shmura Smith Glenn.
The contract represents the DHL Inc.’s effort to create and grow a community-wide campaign to secure community ownership of the hotel on Henry Street that had more than 270 businesses producing more than 7,100 permanent jobs on a yearly basis.
The hotel, which hosted important guests such as Fats Domino, Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, Nancy Wilson and WWII soldiers who could not stay in white-owned hotels, was once the centerpiece property on Henry Street and a bigger black business district.
"So glad to see the dream come true. That the young people can see what I had a chance to see. I saw 200 more businesses, I saw black doctors and everybody. So now we're trying to get people to have ownership to say they can dream on," said Richard Chubb.
Though the pending owners are unable to discuss particulars until the completion of the sale, the company has committed to “ … keeping the rich history of the Dumas alive so that the community will enjoy its presence for years to come.”
The DHL Inc.will host a community meeting on Aug. 13 at St. Paul’s United Methodist Church at Fifth and Gilmer Avenue Northwest to solicit broader participation and support. In addition, the company will be ramping up a fundraising campaign for down payment funds and operational costs for its first years of ownership.
Company officials said it will be making major announcements regarding the local, regional and national partners they are talking with that will help the DHL Inc. to launch the Dumas property to have a significant impact and opportunity.
The DHL Inc. board of directors, along with the Dumas Community Steering Committee and supporters, are committed to ensuring the space brings people, cultures and races together for maximum economic, educational, social and cultural outcomes.