Developers hope to breathe new life into Metrocenter Mall
JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Is there hope for the Metrocenter? One developer believes there is, and working to put the finishing touches on a section not under forfeiture by the state.
“Tornado got our roof and you know busted some spots off. So we’re getting ready to repair those spots,” said J.R. Durham pointing out [the] final renovation phases at the building at the west end of the Metrocenter.
He is the General Manager of Just Friends in the space once occupied by Widow Watson’s Restaurant. According to Durham, the Retrometro property will include an event center for weddings, parties, and other activities, a restaurant, and a nightclub. It will occupy 22,000 square feet.
“It’s kind of a venture among a group of guys trying to clean up Highway 80,” said Durham. “There’s nowhere to come to eat over here. If you get in this side of town where you can be safe here because, one, you got the police department right here. Two you got 21 security guards here”.
But many think development is impossible because the state has seized a portion due to owed taxes. Durham said Retrometro owns 240,000 square feet with 50 thousand available for occupancy.
“A small section of this property, that’s is in tax forfeiture and that, of course, she’s still got three years to pay the bill and she may most likely get that done,” said Durham. “But people don’t want to come here with the bad publicity oh we go out there and develop the place and the state’s gonna take it. That’s not happening. That’s not true”.
Last August the facility hosted back-to-school events, book bag giveaways, and free hair cuts. They hope this will be the start of a resurgence.
“This side of town gets a bad rap,” added the Jackson businessman. “This happens o be one of the nicest places in south Jackson”.
Developers hope to be open by mid-July.
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