Meet Norland James and his wife, Dr. Amina Gilyard James, the owners of Memphis’ newest Black-owned Quality Inn hotel. The two were able to acquire the 70-room property in the Raleigh neighborhood of the city for $3.85 million with the help of a group of first-time African American hotel investors.
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 prepared for their new acquisition.
Norland has an MBA from the University of Phoenix and started investing in real estate while serving in the Army at Fort Bragg. His interest in real estate has grown over the years as he has expanded his portfolio with short-term vacation rental and hotel properties.
Amina contributes equally as much. She holds a Doctorate in Human & Organizational Learning from George Washington University and is a serial entrepreneur specializing in organizational development/effectiveness and hospitality. She is also a seasoned consultant, speaker, and investor with nearly a decade of real estate investment and operations experience.
The couple chose Memphis as the location without hesitation. After conducting extensive research, they discovered that the hotel market in Memphis has experienced one of the most robust pandemic recoveries in the United States. Furthermore, corporate expansion in the area has increased job growth and travel to the area. Furthermore, Memphis is centrally located between Arkansas and Missouri, as well as major cities such as 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.”