Development accelerates on Highland Colony Parkway

by For the MBJ

Published: September 17,2007

When driving along Highland Colony Parkway, one will see many new buildings as well as many new construction projects. Starting at the north end of the parkway, near Highway 463, the first major development is Fountains of Madison County. Greg Johnston is one of the developers of the project.

“We operated under the name Brashear Creek, LLC,” says Johnston. “That’s because Brashear Creek runs right though the property.”

The development sits on a 24-acre site that fronts both the Highland Colony Parkway and Highway 463. The theme of the development is based on a large traffic circle in the middle, which will feature a large antique bronze fountain as its centerpiece.

“It’s a reclaimed fountain from a New Orleans mansion that was destroyed in Katrina,” says Johnson. “We believe it was made in Italy.”

A divided boulevard will wind through the development from Highland Colony to Highway 463.

“We already have the road from the parkway to the traffic circle done, and the rest of the road should be complete by early 2008,” says Johnston.

The development will have a very upscale feel.

“The buildings will have slate roofs and wood-mold bricks from Virginia,” Johnston explains. “While most developments of this type have a street, parking lot and building, our buildings will be closer to the street — about 20 feet — with some on-street parking and parking lots in the back. It’s a more urban, downtown-type feel that will be very pedestrian friendly.”

So far, Bank First is the first building under construction.

“We’ll be moving into the new building around February of next year,” says Cory Pinter, a teller at the bank. “We’ve just outgrown our current facility, and the new, larger bank building will allow us to serve our customers better.” Johnston says that State Bank and Trust will be located across Fountain Boulevard from Bank First. “Kelly Dabbs will also be building two office buildings.”

Medical corridor?

Johnston says that his company is also pursuing the medical community.

“With the presence of Baptist and the Medical Arts Building across the street, we feel this will develop into a strong medical corridor.” Also planned for the development are restaurants and retail. “We believe the Madison area is underserved from a local restaurant standpoint. We’ve been talking to some well-known, high-quality restaurants. What we envision is people coming to Fountains of Madison for more than one purpose. We want them to linger, shop, and dine while they’re here.”

Harrell Construction is a familiar sign along the parkway. The construction group recently completed the 300 Renaissance at Colony Park Building where Cellular South is now headquartered. Under construction is the 100 Concourse at Colony Park building and the 300 Concourse at Colony Park building, the new home of the Copeland, Cook, Taylor and Bush law firm.

Excited about retail

At the Township at Colony Park, a new section under construction is a retail phase on the south side of the existing retail space that houses Summerhouse.

“We’re really excited about that,” says LaRose. “It will house Clark and Blake Brennan’s Royal B restaurant. Right now, it’s on track to be completed the last quarter of this year.”

LaRose says the restaurant will feature cuisine that patrons have grown accustomed to eating at the world-famous Brennan’s in New Orleans. “They’ll serve a great Sunday brunch with mimosas and the works.”

The brothers relocated to the Jackson area following Hurricane Katrina. The restaurant will have a New Orleans feel with wrought iron, copper accents, gas lamps and even a quaint outdoor courtyard area, giving diners the feel that they are in the heart of the French Quarter. The restaurant will seat approximately 250 guests, with lunch and dinner served daily.

That same building will house additional office and retail space, as well as a wine store and one more restaurant tenant.

“When the Township is complete, we’ll have six to eight total restaurants.” The development currently houses Fusion coffee shop and Soulshine Pizza. A building near the back of the development will house A.J.’s Seafood Grill

“That building is almost complete. There’s no doubt that folks in this area will have some great dining options right here at the Township,” LaRose says.

Also beginning construction at the Township is the Embassy Suites hotel. The first Embassy Suites for Mississippi, the $19-million, 140-suite hotel is slated for completion in the summer of 2008. It will be one of the brand’s new Design Option III prototypes, according to Alpesh Patel, president of Kana Hotel Group in Knoxville, Tenn. The hotel will feature an indoor pool, 6,000 square feet of meeting space, and two 32-inch, high definition LCD televisions in each suite. The company purchased three acres in the 95-acre Township development from Kerioth for the hotel.

At the corner of Steed Road and the Highland Colony Parkway, two large banks have been built. Regions has built a large bank branch and offices, and Trustmark has built another. Merrill Lynch also has a new office building in that area.

Just before the traffic circle at Old Agency Road is one of the most prominent developments in the area. Renaissance at Colony Park is a 500,000-square-foot retail development that will feature upscale shops, restaurants, The Fresh Market gourmet grocery and office space. Hyatt Place hotel will complete the development.

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