A conversation between Red, the skeptic, and Fred, the realist, about downtown housing in Mississippi’s Capital City.
Red: Let’s talk about housing in downtown Jackson. There was a big conference on that topic the other day.
Red: They said that housing was the key to downtown revitalization. Sounds good, but who wants to live downtown? I have kids. I prefer a little green space. A nice yard, or maybe 40 acres, if I’m lucky.
Fred: That may be your preference, but in most cities about 10% of people who work downtown would consider living there.
Red: How many people work in downtown Jackson?
Fred: Over 20,000.
Red: So why aren’t 2,000 people living in downtown Jackson?
Fred: Even though the demand is there, a shortage exists in the availability of housing.
Red: Why don’t they just convert those old, vacant, commercial buildings to residential? Isn’t that what they did in Memphis, New Orleans, and all those other cities that have downtown housing?