Meet Norland James and his wife, Dr. Amina Gilyard James, the owners of the newest Black-owned Quality Inn hotel in Memphis, Tennessee. With the help of a cohort of first-time African American hotel investors, the two were able to acquire the 70-room property located in the Raleigh neighborhood part of the city for $3.85 million.
Norland and Amina, however, are not new to the industry. Between 2019 and 2021, they invested in two Hilton-branded hotels as limited partners and passive investors. Amina comments, “We learned a lot as limited partners, and we just knew that we wanted to buy our very own hotel in 2022. Ultimately, our goal is to acquire more midscale hotel properties in secondary markets in the Southern and Midwest regions of the country.”
More than ready
The couple is more than ready for the acquisition that they’ve made.
Norland holds an MBA degree from the University of Phoenix, and began investing in real estate when he was stationed in the Army at Fort Bragg. His passion for real estate has blossomed over the years as he’s diversified his portfolio with short-term vacation rental and hotel properties.
Amina brings just as much to the table. As a serial entrepreneur specializing in organization development/effectiveness and hospitality, she holds a Doctorate in Human & Organizational Learning from George Washington University. In addition, she is a seasoned consultant, speaker, and investor with almost 10 years of real estate investment and operations experience.
Choosing Memphis as a location was a no-brainer for the couple. After doing thorough research, they learned that the hotel market in Memphis has seen of the strongest pandemic recoveries in the U.S. Even more, corporate expansion to the area has driven job growth and increased travel to the area. In addition, Memphis is centrally located to the Arkansas and Missouri state lines as well as major cities including Jackson, Mississippi, Atlanta, Georgia, and even Nashville.
“We know this will be a success,” Norland says. “We already have plans and consultants in place to increase customer satisfaction, implement sales and marketing strategies, and enhance property condition.”
For more information about the couple and their hotel ventures, visit their website at Duke-Ventures.com.
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