Watkins buys courthouse, plans arts institute

JACKSON — The James Eastland Federal Courthouse in downtown Jackson has been tentatively sold at auction to Watkins Development for $1.45 million.

Owner David Watkins, also the lead developer of the Farish Street Entertainment District, tells The Clarion-Ledger he plans to transform the 115,000-square-foot space into a privately funded university-level arts institute.

An online auction for the courthouse began Aug. 15 and ended yesterday.

Watkins and two anonymous parties began vying for the property last week.

A spokesman for the General Services Administration says the highest bid at the close of auction will be considered for award of the sale.

The federal government reserves the right to reject any and all bids for any reason.

The courthouse has sat vacant since August, following the opening of the new federal courthouse.

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