City to purchase old Dillard's building - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

City to purchase old Dillard's building

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By David Kenney - bio | email

JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - The City of Jackson is buying a Metrocenter anchor store, in hopes of bringing more business to the area.

Tuesday city officials agreed to purchase the old Dillard's building.

Metrocenter Mall has been struggling to keep it's tenants in recent years. Belk vacated one of the anchor stores last summer, leaving only two anchors in the mall. The city hopes they can turn around that trend.

The old Dillard's building has sat vacant since 2004.

Jackson Mayor Harvey Johnson says the owners of the building, Mississippi Mall Venture have agreed to sell the building to the city for $39,500. The building has been appraised at $1.25 million.

There's 172-thousand square feet of space, and nine acres of parking. The city is hoping to attract a developer to remodel the building, and help bring a new mall tenant into the space.

"Make this property available to developers, try to incentives it in such a way that it will be attractive to developers more attractive than it is now just sitting there as an empty space," says Johnson.

Nina Holbrook of the Metrocenter Area Coalition says, "The more vacant building's we have out here, the worse it is and when we have someone come in like the city take an interest in buying the building, I think that's a good thing."

The Dillard's property owners owe over $100 thousand in back taxes. There was some concern from council members and others that money could be lost.

Mayor Johnson says the city will be able to collect some of the money it's owed, when the sale goes through. He also plans to offer tax incentives to the new tenants.

Right now the city doesn't have a specific tenant in mind. Whoever moves in will need approval from the other mall anchor stores.

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