Fondren welcomes movie, development and Sweet Potato Queens - - Jackson, MS

Fondren welcomes movie, development and Sweet Potato Queens

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JACKSON, MS (WLBT) – The Fondren Association of Businesses awarded members for outstanding achievement during it second annual membership meeting Monday.

It is a growing area where movie cameras will soon roll and Sweet Potato Queens will reign.

The Fondren business district has emerged into hub of colorful pastel painted buildings along North State Street which since the 1800's has offered everything from skate boards to French antiques.

Fondren Association of Businesses or F.A.B. President David Waugh said there are 300 businesses in the area.

The organization emerged from the Fondren Merchants Association and the Fondren Renaissance Foundation.

"This was the first suburban community out of Jackson that had a business district and it's a very diverse and exciting energetic young group that are here, and we're excited about what's happening," said Waugh.

Kolb Grand Cleaners and other businesses along State Street will be transformed in the coming weeks as the back drop for the Hollywood produced movie The Help.

It is scheduled to begin filming September 22nd. 

"This was the business district at that time. From about Campbell's Bakery back this way to Kolbs Cleaners they'll be shooting. They'll also be shooting around the corner at Brent's Drug Store which is in one of the original shopping centers in America basically," added Waugh.

During the F.A.B. meeting Monday evening at Duling Hall in Fondren, Jackson Mayor Harvey Johnson Jr., commended business owners for their expansion efforts and keeping tax dollars in the city.

Sweet Potato Queen Jill Conner Browne was also in attendance and will become a new fixture in Fondren, bringing festivities and a parade March 23rd through the 26th.

"We will start with the running of the bulls in Fondren which will be the Magnolia Roller Vixens, although they will be the Roller Queens. We'll run down to the green space behind Sal & Mookie's by the stadium. There will be a children's festival that will go on all day. All proceeds go to Blair E. Batson Children's Hospital. It will be a night parade so it will be lights as well as sequins and rhinestones," said Browne.

Jackson developer David Watkins is planning an $80 million dollar more than four acre land redevelopment project in honor of his daughter-in-law who died of cancer three years ago.

Whitney Place will be located on the west side of north State Street.

"She and my young son had great hope of buying the property in Fondren and redevelop it and doing it in New Orleans style. It is a mix use development with restaurants, retail, commercial, condominiums, affordable apartments, a hotel and lots of green space and lots of entertainment," said Watkins.

Construction on that project is expected to begin next fall.

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