The Capitol Art Lofts, announced in 2013 but stalled for several years due to funding problems, held a brick-laying ceremony on Monday, Jan. 23, to mark the new development finally getting fully underway.
The lofts, originally a series of seven buildings built between 1885 and 1929, feature 31 apartments with 1,500 square feet of space for single-family homes. Twenty-six of those are set aside for residents who make no more than 60 percent of the area's median income. They will cost $565 a month for a one-bedroom unit and $675 for a two-bedroom.
Five of the apartments will be for residents who make no more than 30 percent of the median income. Four of these will be one-bedroom units and will cost about $250. The two-bedroom unit will cost $295.
The Metrocenter Mall (3645 Metro Drive) welcomed two new businesses on Jan. 20 with the grand openings of Awakened Academy-Early Learning Center and Inflatable Kingdom Kidz Zone. Awakened Academy is located in a 10,300-square-foot space at the east end of the mall's upper level, and Inflatable Kingdom occupies 6,700 square feet on the lower level near the center court.
Brian Sparrow, owner of Inflatable Kingdom, opened his party-rental business in 2008 after he graduated from Belhaven University with a bachelor's degree in business management.
Awakened Academy-Early Learning Center, a nonprofit preschool for children ages six weeks to 5 years old, opened in November 2016.
"We've been well-received in the Jackson metro since we opened a few months ago and are pleased to see that," Awakened Academy headmaster Cedric Buckley said. "... We're excited to be opening a new location in a part of Jackson that's been undergoing a fair amount of revitalization."
Awakened Academy is also partnering with Jackson State University and Hinds Community College to offer internships to early-education majors at both schools.
Metrocenter Mall will also soon be the home for a new Big Apple Inn, Stamps Superburger and several other local restaurants. Scott Overby, Tyler Oliver, Tom Boyd and Mike Boyd of Jackson Commons LLC, the entity that owns the mall, plan to bring five new dining options into the food court in coming months.
Overby told the Jackson Free Press that the project is one element of the "Support Jackson. Shop Jackson. Metrocenter." campaign that they're launching next year. In part, the campaign is focused on the idea of transforming the mall from a once-a-month shopping destination to a provider of goods and services that neighborhoods need regularly.
Jackson Commons hopes to bring in at least five new tenants to the mall by the end of 2016, including new clothes retailers and a technology-repair and -retail business. In addition to Stamps and Big Apple Inn, Kingfish Grill, Griffin's Fish House and Jefferson's Grill plan to open locations at Metrocenter sometime this year.
The District at Eastover (1250 Eastover Drive), a multi-use development in northeast Jackson, recently announced four new businesses that will open in the coming months, including two restaurants, a physiology clinic and a fitness center.
Cantina Laredo, a restaurant that presents a modern twist on Mexican cuisine, will open in Eastover's District Green this summer. The restaurant will feature a large dining patio with an outdoor fireplace among other amenities.
A new location for Freshii, a restaurant franchise dedicated to using entirely fresh ingredients with nothing fried or frozen, will also be opening soon. John Newcomb of Newk's fame opened the state's first Freshii (748 MacKenzie Lane, Flowood) last year and also owns the new Eastover restaurant.
Australia native Gary Cunningham founded Results Physiotherapy, a national physical-therapy company, in 1996 alongside a group of partners that included Olympic swimmer Tracy Caulkins. Orangetheory Fitness is a training and workout facility that specializes in what it calls excess post-exercise oxygen consumption. It involves a 60-minute workout broken into intervals of cardiovascular and strength training.
Last year, The District at Eastover also opened new branch locations for Origin Bank and BankPlus. Origin opened its newest banking center in The District in November 2016, and BankPlus is scheduled to open its new location by April 2017.
The District announced in a release that new women's fashion and home decor stores will also open sometime this year.
Westin Jackson Hotel
Hospitality group Wischermann Partners appointed Mike Burton, a Grand Rapids, Mich., native with more than 20 years of experience in the hospitality industry, as general manager of The Westin Jackson hotel, set to open in late summer 2017.
Burton previously served as general manager of The Westin Chicago Northwest in Itasca, Ill., where he managed $14 million in renovations of guest rooms, meeting rooms, and public space. Burton also served as hotel manager of Sheraton Dallas Hotel and as operations manager of The Westin Galleria in Dallas and oversaw multimillion-dollar renovations at both locations.
2 Mississippi Museums
2 Mississippi Museums, the collective name for the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum and Museum of Mississippi History under construction in downtown Jackson, has named Cindy Gardner as site administrator, Pamela Junior as director of the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum and Rachel Myers as director of the Museum of Mississippi History.
Gardner previously worked for the Mississippi Department of Archives and History as the project manager for the Museum of Mississippi History and Mississippi Civil Rights Museum, while also serving as director of collections for the department's museum division.
Junior came to Mississippi Department of Archives and History from the Smith Robertson Museum and Cultural Center, where she had been manager since 1999. She is a member of the board of directors for the Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area and Mississippi Book Festival, and a co-founder of the Mississippi Black Theatre Festival.
Myers has been the director of the museum department of the Goldring/Woldenberg Institute of Southern Jewish Life since 2010. She is the Mississippi state leader for the American Association of State and Local History, and serves on the boards of the Council of American Jewish Museums and Jackson 2000.
The Museum of Mississippi History will present the history of the state from its earliest times to the present through a variety of exhibits, including a collection of artifacts acquired in the early days of MDAH, which was founded in 1902.
The Mississippi Civil Rights Museum will focus on the period from 1945 to 1976 and tell the story of the struggle for equal rights and fair treatment under the law. It will be the nation's first state-operated civil rights museum.
The museums will also provide expanded storage for the MDAH collection of more than 21,000 objects and will spotlight materials from the state archives.
The museums are scheduled to open Dec. 9, 2017, as the centerpiece of the state's bicentennial celebration.
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