JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Monday, Popeye’s management complained about a vacant motel next to the restaurant on Highway 80 that is being occupied by the homeless.
Employees said vagrants are stealing electricity from the business and terrorizing workers and customers.
Owners of the vacant hotel are now speaking out about the problems and plans for the future.
Pearl Street AME Church purchased the old Jackson Southwest Hotel four years ago.
The gate at the Highway 80 entrance has been replaced three times, according to church leaders.
Pearl Street AME Pastor Samuel Boyd said the old hotel was fully furnished and structurally sound when they first purchased it... but metal thieves and the homeless have gutted the building they plan to turn into a senior living facility.
“We have secured the place as far as people coming in, but all that is gone,” said Boyd. “We did it twice three times we did it, a little over $32,000 to do that."
The pastor estimates a loss of more than $1.2 million in the facility.
The 19 year church leader said witnesses have reported trucks and trailers, some with Rankin County license plates, leaving the property with materials.
Aluminum light poles that surrounded the building are gone, along with the kitchen and restaurant which were on the first floor.
But Boyd said they will be replaced with 76 single and double apartments.
The tower in the front of the hotel will be demolished.
The $14.5 million dollar project will be 66,000 square feet with a clinic on site.
Pearl Street is working with Hinds Comprehensive Health to provide health care services.
“We’re doing our best to keep it secured,” said Pastor Boyd. “We’re asking for help from the city. The police will come out‚ but they’re gone when the police get there. The city, the county, whatever we can to try to secure it."
The church plans to again secure the building and hire security.
They plan to begin demolition and renovations by the end of the year.
For more information or if you would like to help contact Pearl Street Development Incorporated at 601-355-0001.