Vacant Fondren houses demolished to make way for new development

Published: Jan. 31, 2023 at 8:39 PM CST
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - A vacant house can impact a neighborhood, but several can cause alarm and attract unwanted elements. That was the concern of residents of one Fondren street.

Five abandoned houses on Oxford Avenue caused problems for residents for months, but to their delight, they have recently been torn down with plans for new development.

“You really touch people in the community when you’re improving what’s going on there,” said real estate developer Jason Watkins.

His purchase and demolition of abandoned houses on Oxford Avenue will indeed touch neighbors and remove blight. Thursday, the structures were leveled. Clearing the way for the developer to use the property to build a 500-car parking garage for the nearby Capri Theater and Highball Lanes.

“We do expect to be in full construction in March on the parking garage component of this, which is necessary to park not only for our commercial project but the neighborhood at large for retailer. It will be a public garage,” said Watkins.

“Just delighted. Just completely delighted,” said resident Dianne Nelson as she stood near the heaps of wood on the lots.

It’s a welcomed transformation for the realtor.

“I’m looking forward to the lots being cleaned up and the neighborhood being a little less transient and safe,” said Nelson.

“It’s going to brighten up this area as well,” said April Sade, owner of Alex and Zander Boutique.

Business owners like Sade anticipate the improvements will bring more traffic to the area.

“We’re extremely excited as business owners in the district that this is going on literally in front of our store,” added Sade. “It’s just an excellent new beginning for the business owners here.”

According to Watkins, future plans for the site include a 200-plus unit apartment complex.

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