City leaders agree to finance downtown development - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

City leaders agree to finance downtown development

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By David Kenney - bio | email

Jackson, MS (WLBT) - A development that would change the landscape of downtown Jackson is one step closer to becoming a reality.

Tuesday the Jackson City Council approved a financing agreement to build the Capital City Center.

Developer TCI-MS created amazing animations to show how city center would fit into downtown Jackson. The $215 million development will entail a hotel, a residential space and retail just across the street from the Jackson Convention Center.

The first phase involves a 300-room full service Crown Plaza convention hotel that will be connected to the existing convention center by a sky bridge.

During Tuesday's meeting, Jackson City Council member agreed to help TCI-MS build the development, by putting the financial risk on the backs of taxpayers by assuming the debt on financing.

Mayor Harvey Johnson said, "Were gonna have about $12 to 15 million depending on the size of debt coming to the city of Jackson over a 30 year period as a payment enhancement fee. We feel pretty protected by this."

Developer Mark Small met with reporters after the meeting saying "With the financial meltdown we've had over the past few years, a lot of the institutions are either looking for either very expensive returns on their loans."

Even though the taxes generated from the project could be in the millions, some city leaders said it's too big an investment to make, with no guaranteed returns.

Councilman Jeff Weill, who was the only one to vote against the agreement said, "Were being asked to co-sign on tens of millions of dollars in debt and I just think given the precarious situation of the city finances, we don't need to do that right now."

TCI-MS hopes to break ground sometime before November of this year.

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