JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Major flood damage to a former downtown Jackson staple has some wondering whether its developers will stick around.
The damage came when a pipe burst on the top floor during last week’s wintry weather, causing water to flow down several floors for more than three days.
“The fire alarm going off, water continuing to drip from ceilings... it just sounded like you were at Niagara Falls with the amount of water coming through there,” said Patrick Wooten. “Computers covered with water, phones, desks. Ceiling tiles just crumbling. It was beyond, I think, anything anyone can be prepared for.”
Wooten works as an attorney with Richard Schwartz and Associates, which was one of a handful of tenants inside the Landmark Center.
Video provided to 3 On Your Side from those employees shows the mayhem inside, with water pouring from the light fixtures and spilling out of one of the building’s elevators.
Photos show water seeping out of the building’s exterior windows on nearly every floor, indicating the extent of the flooding through the building’s six stories.
“Water was coming out of every corner, every panel, every column,” said Jackson’s planning and development director Jordan Hillman. “I looked in the window and saw the atrium looking like a swimming pool.”
Hillman says it took time and help from Jackson firefighters to find the cutoffs for the building’s water pipes, something the city offered as a courtesy because that building is private property.
Before that setback, developers had been planning two hundred apartments for seniors and a grocery store for the city’s downtown residents inside the massive structure.
3 On Your Side reached out to one of the developers, Weinstein Nelson Chief Administrative Officer Addison Henry Sr., who said his firm had a minority stake in the project.
Henry declined an interview request, instead releasing a succinct statement to WLBT.
“We are in the investigative process now and have no comments at this point,” Henry said, indicating the response was sent on behalf of Landmark Property Company, LLC.
When asked specifically if he would want to address the timeline for the project, which at this point has languished for seventeen months, Henry declined.
He last told WLBT in February 2019 that the grocery store would open in September of 2019.
Once complete, the downtown Corner Market store would encapsulate 17,000 square feet of the Landmark Center.
3 On Your Side also reached out to The Roberts Company of Hattiesburg, which owns Corner Markets across Mississippi, but have not yet heard back from the company.
One of the developers told Hillman they’re letting insurance look at the damage, but feel positive about moving forward with those developments after making repairs.
At the same time, development could still slow because of a lack of adequate parking to support the apartments and grocery store, Hillman said.
Once repairs are complete, tenant Richard Schwartz said his firm plans to move back in. They still, however, maintain their primary location on Amite Street and have not stopped working since the setback.
“Our intent is to come back because we love the space. There are only two tenants in the building and the plans for the building are really great. And it will be a masterpiece, a showpiece for Jackson,” Schwartz said.