Meridian Star

Archive

June 26, 2010

Threefoot timeline

MERIDIAN —

    • 1929: Construction begins on the Threefoot Building at a cost of $750,000.

    • 1979: The Threefoot Building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

    • 2000: After decades of dwindling tenants and deterioration, the Threefoot Building closes.

    • February 2006: The Meridian Redevelopment Authority files condemnation papers against the owner of the Threefoot Building, and the city purchases the structure for $1.2 million from Threefoot Building Inc.

    • February 2006: The city announces an unnamed Jackson developer signed a contract to purchase the building with 60 days to close on the contract. The deal doesn't materialize.

    • August 2006: Meridian enters into a preliminary agreement with Historic Restorations Inc., of New Orleans to develop the historic building into a hotel

    • November 2008: On the verge of a final decision by the Meridian City Council on whether to go forward with the HRI proposal, local hotelier Abdul Lala, president of Lala Enterprises, tells the city he will build a $30 million Hyatt Place franchise hotel and banquet hall on the west side of 23rd Avenue, which would require the demolition of several buildings on the two blocks between 23rd and 25th Avenues and Fifth and Sixth Streets, if the council rejects HRI Properties' proposal to turn the Threefoot into a Courtyard by Marriott hotel.

    • January 2009: Meridian City Council votes 3-2 in favor of HRI Properties' proposal to renovate the Threefoot Building with the city guaranteeing $14 million of the project's $50 million financing. Part of the agreement also is to develop the Kress Building into a banquet hall with a capacity of 950-1,000 people.

    • July 2009: In a meeting called by newly sworn-in Mayor Cheri Barry, the Meridian City Council holds an hour-long closed meeting with Barry, and HRI representatives at Union Station, followed by a public meeting with questions about the project posed to HRI officials.

    • August 2009: HRI Properties gives city officials, local media and a potential project lender a tour of the Threefoot Building.

    • September 2009: Mayor Cheri Barry inquires about delisting the Threefoot Building from the National Register of Historic Places for possible demolition.

    • December 2009: City Attorney Bill Ready recommends the City Council terminate its agreement with HRI. Mayor Barry said: "I'm concerned as the mayor what kind of commitment this is going to put financially on our city. We (the city's administration and its financial and legal advisers) have all decided it is not in the best interest of the city of Meridian for the taxpayers to make this project go forward."

    Barry cited the many other expenses the city anticipates, including debt payments on the multi-million dollar City Hall renovations, the need for a new police station, the need to provide water, sewer, and fire services to the recently annexed area, and the fact that city employees did not get the 3 percent raises they are used to this year. "It's not that I'm against the project," she said. "It's the timing of the project."

    • December 2009: HRI terminates its Threefoot agreement with Meridian citing a lack of 100 percent support from Mayor Barry, and drainage repairs needed downtown, specifically at the Threefoot.

    • April 2010: The Meridian City Council donates the Kress Building to Mississippi State University, to be used along with the Newberry Building, donated by The Riley Foundation, for the MSU-Meridian business division.

    • May 2010: The Threefoot Building is placed on the National Trust for Historic Preservation's 2010 list of America's 11 Most Endangered Historic Places.

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