With CoE clearance, dirt should start moving at Harbor Walk

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Published: October 17,2005

Living, working, shopping, dining — all on a slip of land once occupied by a couple of nightspots, boat piers and other buildings. The long anticipated Harbor Walk on the Ross Barnett Reservoir is slowly taking shape with approval from the Corps of Engineers to begin improvements to the harbor.

With clearance from the Corps, Main Harbor Development, LLC, can begin construction of 58 boat slips purchased from Minnesota-based Shoremaster, which has built marina systems for locations around the world. Malouf Construction of Madison is the contractor on the $1.5-million land and water project. Each pier will have a covered community deck to serve as a gathering spot for boat owners, and each slip will have water, sewer and technology for communication.

Malouf has scheduled a completion date of December 15, after which house boat piers A and B in the harbor can be torn down to make way for the condo building and office building.

Listing agent Kitty Rushing of Charlotte Smith Real Estate expects sales to pick up as people begin to see construction equipment moving on the site. The eight-story condo building will have 147 upscale condominiums ranging in price from $300,000 to over $1 million. Condos will sell for approximately $300 a square foot, on par with like developments on the Florida Coast, said Rushing. All of the condos will have a water view with balconies, and residents can choose their cabinetry, flooring, mouldings and other building materials.

Besides upscale amenities, the condos are self-contained, meaning everything a resident needs will eventually be within walking distance, said Rushing, who is purchasing a condo for herself.

“I wouldn’t even need a car,” she said. “There will be shops, groceries, a gym, restaurants. Even if you don’t want to live there, you couldn’t have a better weekend. You can find something to do all the time.”

Mike Peters of Peters Real Estate in Jackson is handling the leasing of Harbor Walk’s restaurant, retail and office space. The office building will have between 100,000 and 150,000 square feet of Class A office space. Peters would not disclose names of businesses who have signed on, but said a list of tenants could be released next month.

“We’ve got new people every day that we’re talking to and negotiating with,” said Peters, who believes Harbor Walk will transform the Reservoir into a popular destination for people who want to shop, dine, boat and live on the water.

The condo and office buildings will have restaurants and retail on the ground floors, as will the Hotel Valencia, which will be situated in between the offices and condos. The 200-room luxury boutique hotel should be open for business by 2008 as a destination for out-of-towners and locals alike with a high-end restaurant and a hip bar. The Texas-based Valencia Group will model the four-star hotel after its Hotel Valencias on San Antonio’s Riverwalk and Santana Row in San Jose, Calif.

Water taxis will ferry residents of neighboring waterfront subdivisions like Overlook Pointe, Roses Bluff, Palisades, Fox Bay and the new community of Lost Rabbit to Harbor Walk. Boat owners can dock their boats in the marina to shop and eat along the boardwalk. John Burwell, president of Main Harbor Development, expects to begin announcing restaurants in the near future.

Asked if Harbor Walk was his vision, Burwell defers credit to John Hannigan of Bethesda, Md., who Burwell brought on board as development manager. Hannigan was behind Santana Row in San Jose, which Main Harbor Development is using as the model for the Ridgeland project.

While the piers are under construction, Main Harbor will start clearing and grubbing land along Harbor Drive to make way for a new road that will run parallel to Harbor Drive. The existing road that runs around the existing boat piers will be the boardwalk.

George Bishop, a Mississippi native who lives in Houston, Texas, is a partner in the project. This first phase of Harbor Walk costs $200 million, and financing has come from a variety of places, said Burwell. Phase one includes more than one million square feet of retail, dining, hotel, office and condo space. More condos will follow in phases two and three, and phase four will bring more office buildings. According to Main Harbor Development, Harbor Walk will eventually be 3-1/2-million square feet covering more than 100 acres of waterfront property.

Contact MBJ Staff Writer Kelly Ingebretsen at kelly@msbusiness.com.

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