By JACK WEATHERLY
Developers see it as the new main street for Belhaven.
Belhaven is known for its stylish and historical residential neighborhood, including legendary writer Eudora Welty’s home, Belhaven University, Millsaps College and the New Stage Center.
But four men with deep roots in Mississippi’s largest historic district agreed that Belhaven needed a “centering,” a street and common ground where people could gather to celebrate all of the above.
So a plan was developed for Belhaven Town Center on two city blocks straddling Manship Street and between Belhaven and Belhaven Heights.
The project celebrated the latest stride in its development on Tuesday. Elvie’s, a quaint restaurant in a former residence, opened. That followed Campbell’s Craft Donuts, which opened next door in November and is owned and operated by Mitchell Moore, whose Campbell’s Bakery is a fixture in the Fondren District.
Both buildings had been long vacant and dilapidated.
Dr. Reed Hogan III, one of the investors, said that houses that became Campbell’s and Elvie’s had been “heroin dens.”
From them, he could see his backyard.
Not a good thing for someone raising a family with four daughters.
Hogan, his father, Dr. Reed Hogan Jr., both gastroenterologists; developer David Turner, and Ruffin Lowry came together and are equal partners in the project.
The younger Hogan, president of the Belhaven Improvement Association, said Turner had pitched the idea for the development to others about 10 years go but “it fell on deaf ears.” Hogan said that when he moved back to Jackson and heard about the idea, he reached out to Turner.
“We want it to feel like the center of energy and community,” Hogan said.
“I hope 20 years from now that when they drive through Belhaven Town Center that they assume that’s where Belhaven started.”
The Town Center is on Manship Street, starting in the second block east of State Street at North Street, straddling Manship, ending at Jefferson Street and bordered on the south by Carlisle Street.
The next phase will be The Haven, a combination of green space and “micro retail” shops, according to Turner, who was interviewed at Elvie’s, where he came to grab a quick bite. That phase should open in the fall, he said.
A dental building with two floors above providing space for 12 one-bedroom apartments should be completed in about a year, Turner said.
Plans may include a brewery or brew pub in the former location of the Baptist Hospital laundry the east side of Manship.
Further, there is interest in medical and law space, Turner said.
The David Turner Cos. portfolio includes custom homes, including some in the Lamar project in Oxford, the Backwater Farm, a 26-acre “agrihood” in Ridgeland with five-acre lots and a half-acre common garden plot.
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