Oh, the Metrocenter. Is it in West Jackson or South Jackson? It’s hard to be certain, but one thing is for certain: its successes and failure impact both parts of the city. Hard. The development that once housed Nine West, Journeys, Bakers, J. Riggins, Dillards, Gayfers, The Gap, and a plethora of other national retailers now has more than one gap. In fact, in recent years, it has many gaps…in occupied storefronts that is. There’s no doubt that the Metrocenter lacks the gusto it had in its heyday. Nevertheless, true Jacksonians should be fighting for its success rather than expecting its demise (or even worse, referring to it as the Ghettrocenter). It is, by the way, the only shopping mall within the city limits of Jackson.
The City of Jackson is trying its best to make things happen for Metrocenter. Tonight, the Jackson City Council set things in motion to move some of the city’s departments to the development. See the press release below that was posted on Mayor Johnson’s Facebook Page. Also, if you haven’t been to the Metrocenter in a while, take a look at the photos taken by a Picasa user named “elvisjulep”.
Even better, take a visit and shop at stores such as Sears and Burlington that remain steadfast tenants. Hopefully, the city’s efforts and the proposed development plans of David Watkins can turn things around.
Press Release (original post):
Today the Jackson City Council passed an order authorizing Mayor Johnson to execute a Memorandum of Understanding with developers for the lease of office space within the former Belk’s Department Store located at the Metrocenter Mall. Mayor Johnson and the development company, Retro Metro, LLC, will work out the terms of a lease that will be brought back before City Council for consideration in several weeks.
The City is proposing to move the Parks and Recreation Department, the Department of Human and Cultural Services and the Water and Sewer Business Office from the Jackson Medical Mall to the space at Belk’s. Additionally, city offices that currently occupy the former Atmos Building on Capitol Street will make the move, including Police Precinct 2, the Department of Personnel and the Public Education Government (PEG) Studio. In all, the city would occupy about 60,000 square feet of the former department store.
The city currently pays $400,000 in rent to the Medical Mall and $355,415 in combined utilities for the Medical Mall and Atmos Building. The lease term for the Metrocenter is expected to be approximately $487,000 per year for 15 to 20 years and the city should realize substantial savings in utility costs that would cover this $87,000 rent increase. The space at Belk will be retrofitted and is projected to have reduced energy utilization as compared to the other facilities.
“This move would place between 200 and 300 employees at Metrocenter,” said Mayor Johnson. “Not only will this move be a shot in the arm that this facility needs, but we believe it is a good move for the entire Highway 80 corridor.”
The city of Jackson made a similar move some fifteen years ago when it moved city offices to the Jackson Medical Mall as one of the first tenants in the new incarnation of the former Jackson Mall. New medical tenants have already indicated that they will occupy the space in the Jackson Medical Mall once city offices move out.