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Southside shopping centers make additions, improvements

JACKSON — Although the effort to rehabilitate U.S. 80’s retail corridor in Jackson often gets more attention, several south Jackson malls are getting new life.

Going beyond retail is part of the revival at Jackson Square Promenade, The Clarion-Ledger reports. That includes a roller-skating rink, a “teen center” where kids can hang out, sing karaoke and play video games; and an events space for weddings, family reunions and other gatherings.

Two years ago, its only tenants were a pair of bingo halls. Now it’s 70 percent occupied, said Kenneth Pope-Johnson, the development’s operations manager.

He said Skate and Shake seems to be the most popular new attraction so far, with hundreds of cars filling the parking lot every night it’s open.

Westland Plaza, owned by Stirling Properties of Covington, La., has landed two national retailers — Foot Locker opened early this year, and Hibbett Sports is to open in late October.

Stirling, which has built shopping centers in very affluent communities, is increasingly moving into inner-city neighborhoods, said chairman Jimmy Maurin, who described work at Westland as a labor of love.

“Our approach was, ‘This is the heart of that neighborhood.’ It’s a vibrant part of that community,” he said.

Like the U.S. 80 corridor, the Terry Road area often is dogged by a reputation of high crime and a less-than-safe shopping environment.

Both shopping center brightened outdoor lighting and beefed up security. Jackson Square Promenade includes a Hinds County Sheriff’s Department substation, while Westland features on-site security and Jackson Police Department patrols.

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