The U.S. Attorney’s office in Mobile is expected to hold a press conference tomorrow to discuss a consent decree with the owners and management of the Battle House Hotel, which was found to be in need of thorough modifications to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
The landmark 106-year-old, eight-story hotel was the subject of an extensive, $130 million renovation completed in 2007, yet the Department of Justice pursued a complaint filed by an unnamed, wheelchair-bound individual who determined the “hotel and its amenities, including its restaurants, spa and pool” were not readily accessible or usable to those with disabilities.
The decree notes that while hotel management denied liability for any violation of the ADA, they did cooperate fully with the investigation and participated in plans for remediation.
The 238-room Battle House Hotel is managed by PCH Hotels & Resorts, an affiliate of the owner, Retirement Systems of Alabama, the state’s pension plan.
The decree requires the hotel to make modifications within six months to its Royal Street entrance, an exterior route along St. Francis Street to an existing parking deck, pool, fitness center and spa, three interior ramps and a hallway between the lobby and St. Francis Street, as well as to signage, door pressure, pool, spa and restroom facilities.
Within one year, the hotel must demonstrate that a new parking facility currently under construction is complaint and must also institute a valet parking policy which will provide for vehicles modified for the disabled. It must also reconstruct the driveway, sidewalks and entrance ramp along Dauphin Street. Further, the decree mandates 12 rooms which must be brought into compliance for those confined to wheelchairs and requires a total of 17 rooms to be outfitted for anyone who is deaf, hard of hearing, or suffering from speech impediments.
Finally, the hotel is required to publish a written policy on ADA compliance, provide training for employees and subject to ongoing federal monitoring.
Lagniappe will have more on this developing story tomorrow.