Downtown Jackson development continues - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Downtown Jackson development continues

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By Cheryl Lasseter - bio | email

JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - The apartments at the new King Edward Hotel are all leased Thursday. People who couldn't get in will try their luck around the corner at the 21-story Standard Life building on Roach Street.

Developer David Watkins said 76 one- and two-bedroom apartments inside should be ready for move-in by September 1st.

"We have a waiting list of 153 people. That will shake out to 50 percent, which means they will be full," Watkins said.  "We will have 130-140 families living in this one block within one year. We got 75 percent that have moved from Madison and Rankin Counties, people who work in downtown or nearby, don't like the commute, some just like an urban lifestyle."

Across from the King Edward, asbestos has been removed from two of the buildings in the old strip center in preparation for a makeover. With the exception of the Lott Furniture Store and a nightclub next to that, the entire strip should have new life by the end of the year.  Tenants include a new restaurant that will take up two of the current buildings, a clothing store, a medical clinic, and a New York style deli.  A wine cellar is still under consideration.

"They're not chains, they're all local people," Watkins said.  "The clinic you would recognize, but I can't say until they sign the deal."

The process of renovating the strip center is complicated because each building has a different owner and a different lawyer. Watkins is waiting for one master lease. He's also holding out for all of the historical tax credits he can get, about $5 million worth.

But, there's no more waiting on foot traffic along East Capitol Street. Downtown Jackson Partners President Ben Allen said he feels cleansed by what's already happened here. "Downtown traffic is incredible compared to what it was. We've got a long way to go, but we're on the way," he said.

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