Farish Street Developer: All venues open within one year - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Farish Street Developer: All venues open within one year

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JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

One year ago this month, Brad "Kamikaze" Franklin made big promises about Farish Street.

Frankin, the Director of Entertainment for Watkins Development, told us the construction going on at that time was paving the way for the Subway Lounge, Cool Al's, and Beethoven's The Big Apple Inn. All were supposed to open in November 2010.

None of that happened.

Jackson's Ward 3 Councilman Kenneth Stokes is now demanding an audit of where all the money has gone.

"We had some years back where they put trees out here, now they're gone. We had lamp fixtures put out, they're gone. This is some kind of black hole for money," Stokes says.

"He's misinformed," Developer David Watkins says of Stokes.

Jackson-based Watkins Development took over the Farish Street Project two years ago. David Watkins says he believed Subway, Al's, and Big Apple were coming, but then the economy tanked.

"We have lost a year. Some clubs have not been able to come up with any money whatsoever," Watkins says.

He showed us where work had been going on recently. Zach Harmon's Club will open in December or January on the first block of Farish Street. Another three-story building across Farish Street will house B.B. King's Club. That club will open at a later date.

Since Farish Street is a historic district, developers have to get 18 levels of approval for every brick they move, every beam they erect. But Watkins, who developed the new King Edward Hotel, says the Farish Street Entertainment District will take off.

"We'll have 2 or 3 clubs open in the next six months. We plan to have all 15 of our venues open within 12 months," he says. "It's gonna bring millions to the city of Jackson, and create 700 jobs in the first block. It will generate between $2 and $2.5 million a year in sales tax revenues."

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