By JACK WEATHERLY
A third hotel will be built thanks significantly to the Mississippi Tourism Incentive program.
The state law that created the program will provide up to 30 percent of the more than $23 million conversion of the 16-story 1929 art deco Threefoot Building in downtown Meridian.
That would mean $6.9 million toward eligible costs, according to the certificate issued July 10 and obtained by the Mississippi Business Journal through the state Open Records Act. The Journal is seeking further information from the Mississippi Development Authority, about the project.
The first hotel to take advantage of the program was the Scion West End in Cleveland, a $20 million project nearing completion. The project by Greenwood-based Chawla Hotels Inc. will be managed by the Trump Organization.
It stands to gain a $6 million rebate. Applicants must achieve certain milestones over a 15-year period to receive the rebate.
The second was The Cotton House in Cleveland, a $17.6 million project by LRC2 Properties of Oxford, a 95-room hotel that will carry the Marriott Tribute brand and open early next year.
The 130-room Meridian hotel will fly the Marriott Courtyard flag, according to the developer, Ascent Hospitality Management of Buford, Ga.
Conversion of the building is underway but there is no firm date for completion, Ascent President John Tampa said in a phone interview. Other reports have said the completion date is late 2019.
The tax rebate program is the result of special legislation for Bolivar and Lauderdale counties.
It was created because of the Grammy Museum Mississippi in Cleveland, which opened in March 2016, and the Mississippi Arts and Entertainment Center, or MAX, which opened April 29 in Meridian.
The three hotels are projected to create a total of 300 jobs, the majority of which would be full-time, and inject millions of dollars into the local economies.
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