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Construction to start on 100-room boutique hotel in Fondren

JACKSON — Construction is scheduled to start this year on a 100-room boutique hotel in Jackson’s historic and popular Fondren neighborhood.

Developer Roy Decker of Eldon Development Group tells The Clarion-Ledger that the hotel should open in mid-2017.

Decker says it will have meeting and conference space, lobby and rooftop bars, an amphitheater and festival space.

“It’s a great project,” Decker said. “It’s very real.” Financing should be secured soon, he said.

In the meantime, Decker said the development team is still gathering input from Fondren residents and business owners, in an effort to ensure the hotel properly blends with the historic neighborhood that has become one of Jackson’s most popular areas in which to live, dine and socialize.

“They’ve truly listened to the neighborhood throughout the planning process,” said Jim Wilkirson, executive director of the Fondren Renaissance Foundation. “There’s not a full-blown restaurant in the hotel so they’re trying to push the restaurants that are already there.”

The hotel’s location — on the west side of State Street — will push more development to Fondren’s western border, too, Wilkirson said. “This will expand us in that direction. We’re very pleased. It shows how strong Fondren’s economy is and how important we are to the city of Jackson.”

A market study conducted by Alabama-based consultants showed that Fondren could support a total of 300 hotel rooms. A separate development, a 100-room Hampton Inn next to Duling Hall, was scheduled to break ground next year, though it was scrapped. Decker was not involved in that project, which had drawn concern over its location on existing green space. The same study said Decker’s boutique hotel’s occupancy rate would hover around 75 percent and contribute $200 million to Jackson’s economy over a decade.

Its most frequent customers will likely be young professionals and business travelers, Decker said. There should be plenty of those, he said, considering the hotel’s surroundings.

“There’s a need because there really aren’t any hotel rooms outside of downtown Jackson,” Decker said. “And with University Medical Center and St. Dominic’s close by, this will fill that need.”

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