Waterfront property in Downtown Jackson?
Just got out of a lunch gathering in Downtown Jackson Partners’ new marketing center, where DJP President and CEO Ben Allen performed one of his patented, high-energy routines.
But the biggest news came when Jackson Developer David Watkins, whose King Edward project is set to open this week, took the floor and laid out what would be the most ambitious economic development undertaking Jackson has seen in several decades, maybe ever. Basically, it involves a mile-long, concrete-lined canal that winds through downtown from its beginning at Farish Street, also a Watkins project, and ends in a 35-acre lake on Court Street that connects to the Pearl River. One side of the lake would feature a mix of apartments and condos. A gospel music museum and a civil rights museum, which is currently planned to go up at Tougaloo College, have been thrown out as possibilities at the canal’s Farish Street beginning.
Did we mention it was ambitious?
Anyway, Watkins said the Riverwalk Canal and Town Lake is in the extremely early planning stages. His best estimate at a cost is $200 million, which would have to include public money probably in the form of bonds. Watkins said the project could be done in four to six years, but admitted it would probably take “10 or 12″ to actually complete once the Jackson Redevelopment Authority and the City of Jackson take it over. Watkins hopes to turn it over the city some time in the next 30 days.
There would have to be some property acquisition to make this happen, plus the environmental impact studies and flood control issues. Those processes can bog down pretty easily.
We’ll have a more detailed look at this in our E-Bulletin Thursday morning. For now, we have to wrap some things up for next week’s paper edition of the MBJ.