Downtown will receive a much-needed boost in the transformation of the old AT&T building at 175 E. Capitol St., at the corner of Lamar Street. Now known as the Landmark, the building is turning into a residential and commercial space over the next year.
The development by Baton Rouge-based firm Weinstein Nelson will include 200 one- and two-bedroom apartments, a rooftop pool and downtown's only grocery store. Along with the residential half of the building, the firm is looking for renters for the commercial side, which it plans to design to fit the needs of the individual companies.
Dyke Nelson, one of the partners in the project, said that the design, with its emphasis on creating an urban space, follows a larger trend. "If you look at national trends, the desire to be in an apartment is very strong," Nelson said in June. "The desire to be in an urban center and not have to drive anywhere is very strong."
The timeline for the project staggers for each of the sections, with the last of the residential work set to end by sometime in 2017. "We are thinking early 2017, mid 2017," junior partner Bee McNamara said. "We are hoping to begin construction within the next few months."
Helm Place Townhomes
More than 88 new townhomes will open soon near the historic Mount Helm Baptist Church at 300 East Church St..
"Helm Place is an extension of our church's mission to change lives that change the world," said the Rev. C.J. Rhodes of Mount Helm Baptist Church in a press release. "Decades ago, Mount Helm elected to stay in the Farish Street community and be a blessing to it. Today, we praise God for a long-term dream come true, and I am humbled (that) Mount Helm took the lead in our neighborhood's transformation."
Each home is designed as a 1,520-square-foot single-family space with three bedrooms and two and a half bathrooms, including a two-car garage. Developed and constructed by Chartre Consulting Ltd., the homes surround the church, adding more residential space to the stalled Farish Street area. Also included in the development is a 4,000-square-foot community center.
"To go with strengthening downtown Jackson by providing a safe place to raise a family, Helm Place will serve as an important piece of Jackson's growing health-care corridor," Gov. Phil Bryant said during the July 14 ribbon cutting of Helm Place.
The State of Mississippi worked with the Mississippi Home Corporation, which awarded the developers $13.1 million in tax credits to develop the homes.
"This new development is another example of the transformation underway in Mississippi's capital city," Jackson Mayor Tony Yarber said at the ribbon cutting.
"Helm Place benefits not only the residents in the area, but Jackson's downtown as a whole. The foundation of a strong community is safe, attractive, affordable housing. We're hopeful Helm Place will inspire other business and community partners to invest in Jackson and its citizens."
New Museums Local Boon
The two history museums planned for completion in December of next year could wind up adding $17 million to the local
The Mississippi Civil Rights Museum and the Museum of Mississippi History, side-by-side a few blocks from the state capitol on a parcel bound in by North, Mississippi and North Jefferson streets, are projects of the Department of Archives and History. They are funded in part by bonds the Mississippi Legislature authorized; the museums must find matching funding.
"The State of Mississippi did a great thing building these two museums together," Mississippi Department of Archives and History Director Katie Blount said during a July 13 Jackson 2000 luncheon.
"It's really important symbolically that people would walk in the same door together to learn our history together."
Blount anticipates that the duo will draw around 180,000 visitors a year. The Museum of Mississippi History will trace the state's growth all the way back to 10,000 B.C., highlighting some of its most influential residents. The Mississippi Civil Rights Museum will focus on the tumultuous Civil Rights Movement, from 1945 to 1975, including the most difficult parts.
"We are telling all of the stories in their complexity, not shying away from any aspect of a story, no matter how difficult or complex," Blount said.
The Center for Social Entrepreneurship opened its doors July 1 at 1225 Robinson Street, beginning its mission to "serve as a major catalytic agents that transforms west Jackson, Jackson and Mississippi into greatness," its website says.
The nonprofit is an outreach project that began as a part of Systems Consultants Associates Inc. that now allows the organization to "vigorously address diverse issues including housing, education, economic development and community engagement." The Center will provide "training and technical assistance to minority and disadvantaged businesses" the way the for-profit Systems did, but on a more "as able" basis, the website states.
"Basically, it is just to try and improve the quality of life in and around west Jackson," founder Bill Cooley said in an Aug. 9 phone interview. "Jackson State is going to do well, but the area around it, I am very interested in improving that."
Cooley said that he plans for the center to work with schools and other community groups to create opportunities for residents of west Jackson, especially students.
Mantle.Co in Fondren
Fondren has a new and different sort of shared office space in the Mantle.Co addition, sitting on top of Babalu Tacos and Tapas in the Duling School building at 422 Duling Ave. across from McDade's Market.
"We are an inexpensive and flexible office space," founder Christopher Lomax said during a phone interview on Aug. 9.
The creatively designed space, which has plans ranging from the four-person team for $800 all the way down to the student version for $100, includes collaboration areas, mail service, and private lockers for laptops and other personal items.
Not only does the space function as an office for those who normally work at home or in coffee shops; it also serves as an incubation space, Lomax said, for mobile-based development companies. Mantle provides services for budding businesses, such as legal and graphic help, in exchange for a slice of the company as it grows.
Lomax said that they are currently taking applications for participants and potential partners.
Residence Inn at Eastover
The Residence Inn is the latest addition to The District at Eastover, just east of Interstate 55 near the Meadowbrook Exit, this year. Tina Smith heads the management team. Smith worked as the director of sales for the Marriott Jackson for 19 years, a press release from company states, "overseeing all aspects of sales strategy," before moving to the District's Residence Inn. InterMountain Management and its owner Dewey Weaver will manage the hotel.
"This development will be a hub of activity for thousands of visitors, employees, residents and neighbors," Weaver said in a release. "Our new hotel offers them a seamless blend of modern style and functionality that allows them to settle in, thrive and soak up all The District has to offer."
The hotel adds four stories of rooms, 95 in total, to the development, with a list of amenities that includes a swimming pool, exercise facility, an outdoor patio fireplace, meeting rooms and on-site laundry. The hotel is set to open in August.
Meridian Apartments to Open
The Meridian at Fondren development should be ready soon at 802 Lakeland Drive, adding much-needed housing to the rapidly growing Fondren and University of Mississippi Medical Center area.
The five-story building offers a variety of options for floor plans, from one to three bedrooms, with options for the last that add balcony or expanded kitchen space. The bottom floor of the building will be dedicated office and storefront space, the Meridian's website states, and as of the moment, they are still offering space for residential reservations.
The structure surrounds an outdoor pool and gathering space, with balconies overlooking. Other amenities are offered in some of the packages, which range from $950 for the studio apartments all the way to $1,650 for the three-bedroom options. Tyler Kassinger, one of the partners in the development firm SKD, said in a press release from UMMC last year that one of the largest attractions for the property is its close proximity to the eating and nightlife options that Fondren affords.
"A lot of folks are really excited about this because there's such a parking shortage in Fondren," Kassinger said. "You can park your car and walk to work, campus or shopping."
Arielle Dreher contributed to this story.