With seven or eight months to go before completion of phase one of the new north-south corridor between Pearl and Flowood, officials in both cities are confident major development will take place along the new West Rankin Parkway.
“It’s going to open up an awful lot of property for development,” said Pearl Mayor Brad Rogers.
Flowood Mayor Gary Rhoads said officials expect a mix of uses. “We’re sure it will have some commercial and possibly industrial zoning,” he said.
Rogers said the road was initially planned by the Mississippi Department of Transportation to help move traffic between the two cities “because we don’t have a lot of north-south corridors in the Rankin County area,” Rogers said.
When there’s an accident on the heavily-traveled main section of Interstate 20 to Interstate 55, he said, it creates major traffic snarls and delays for north-south drivers.
The new 3.5-mile road will tie Pearson Road to Treetops Boulevard, which ultimately ties into Lakeland Drive. Sixty percent of the roadway is in Flowood, 40 percent is in Pearl, Rogers said.
“We eventually planned the road to move traffic between the cities,” he said. “But you know that when you start to move traffic anywhere, the real estate development gets hot around major traffic.”
Developments on the east end of Pearl and along the Lakeland Drive area in Flowood already are traffic magnets, including the baseball stadium, Rogers said. Retail draws include the Outlets of Mississippi, a 325,000-square-foot outdoor mall that opened in Pearl in 2013 at the intersection of I-20 and I-55, the nearby Bass Pro Shop and Sam’s.
“And of course Lakeland Drive is a major commercial corridor for Flowood,” he said.
“We’ve seen significant developments in the last few years and we believe we will be opening up property for additional significant development,” he said.
Rogers estimated that several thousand undeveloped acres will be opened up with the completion of the new road. “Some large block holders have pushed hard for this road to open up this property,” he said. “It’s all privately held. Nothing is held by either one of the cities.”
Work on the main road bed got under way about seven months ago. “We’ll be done with the grade, drain and bridge work within nine or 10 months and then the asphalt will come in after that,” Rogers said. The project will take a total of 15 to 18 months.
In the meantime, officials have seen interest in the area.
“We’ve already had both commercial and residential developers looking at property in Pearl and Flowood,” Rogers said.
“We just believe the development will come in the near future. It’s always exciting when you’re looking at future possibilities.”