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Group shows interest in Natchez depot

NATCHEZ — Natchez aldermen have signed a letter of intent that could put the renovation of the Broadway Street depot on a faster track.

The Natchez Democrat reports the letter, presented by New Orleans Hotel Consultants President Warren Reuther, details interest in fully renovating the inside of the depot and later leasing the depot from the city after exterior renovations are performed.

The board recently accepted an $879,000 bid from Paul Jackson and Sons to renovate the outside of the depot using grant funds from the Mississippi Department of Transportation.

City Attorney Hyde Carby, who presented the letter of intent to the board, said Reuther wishes to fulfill the second phase of the depot’s renovations. The first phase — the exterior renovation — would be carried out by Paul Jackson and Sons.

“Right now, we’re just interested in the (depot),” said Reuther, whose company contracts with the city to manage the city’s convention center and also manages The Natchez Grand Hotel and Monmouth Historic Inn. “We don’t know how much it would cost to restore the inside.”

And while talks of interior renovation at the depot are still preliminary, Reuther said he has thought about what could be housed in the 2,800 square foot property.

“If we’re able to make it work, we want to put a full-service destination management company there,” Reuther said. “And the name we selected would be the Mississippi River Visitor Depot.”

Reuther said he envisions the depot housing a small bistro and a few other amenities.

Since the depot has been vacant since 2013, Reuther said its inside looks dismal.

“The inside is completed gutted,” he said.

Currently, Reuther said his first priority is to get potential contractors inside the depot to assess what kind of work that needs to be done and at what cost.

Businesses the depot previously housed include the Old South Trading Post and the former Cock of the Walk restaurant.

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