By TED CARTER
Jackson real estate developer Stewart Speed is exporting his “Meridian” rental apartment complex concept to Mobile after having nearly completed The Meridian at Fondren, a $33 million project on Lakeland Drive across from University of Mississippi Medical Center.
Speed’s Jackson-based Leaf River Group will begin construction on the high-end Meridian at The Port apartment development this summer. The 264-unit property to go up at 300 N. Water St. in downtown Mobile is the largest rental development of its kind since Tower on Ryan Park was built in the 1950s, according to Speed.
Construction on the $46 .5 million, five-story complex is expected to be complete by late 2017.
“It’s an exciting time to be part of the revitalization of downtown Mobile,” Speed, president of Leaf River Group, said in an email. “With the city’s influx of industry and employers, Meridian at The Port is primed to be a landmark development and a gateway to downtown.”
Speed said he expects the Mobile project will be a catalyst for economic growth and retail development in the port city’s downtown, just as he thinks The Meridian at Fondren will help spur growth in the Jackson community of Fondren. Both projects fill a workforce housing void, he said.
Speed said he sees the Meridian at the Port filling the same kind of need for high-end rental apartments that the King Edward and Standard Life buildings have done for downtown Jackson since the start of this decade. Downtown Mobile “doesn’t have anything like that,” he said.
The Mobile City Council recently approved support for the development through the city’s tax increment financing (TIF) program. The program is designed to encourage economic development through blight removal and improving public infrastructure.
Leaf River also has announced it is developing The Retreat at Fairhope Village, a 240-unit rental complex in Fairhope, Alabama.
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