By Jennifer Jacob Brown
Local hotel magnate Abdul Lala has given the City of Meridian a choice — but he hasn't made it an easy one.
A couple of months ago, Meridian's choice was between pursuing the Threefoot hotel project and, well, not doing anything at all. Now, the choice is between the Threefoot project and a brand new downtown hotel constructed by Lala.
The reason: Lala says he can't build his hotel unless the city foregoes plans to turn the Threefoot into a hotel.
With the Threefoot project, the city could take advantage of a proposal by developer HRI Properties to restore the long blighted Threefoot Building, which has a high sentimental value for many Meridianites. HRI would transform the building into a Courtyard by Marriott hotel designed to complement the conference facilities at Meridian's crown jewel of historic preservation, the MSU-Riley Center for the Performing Arts.
The Threefoot hotel would be part of a larger Urban Renewal Plan which would include a renovation of the Kress building - also of emotional and historic significance - into a 1,000 person capacity banquet hall and arts hall of fame sometime in the future. The plan also includes the transformation of the area between the Threefoot building and City Hall into a landscaped park, and there are even tentative plans for a possible new library and art museum further down the road.
Oh yeah - and on top of all that, you know the old dilapidated parking garage on 23rd avenue? With the Threefoot project, it will be singing its swan song to the tune of a wrecking ball. If constructed according to schedule, the hotel would open as soon as September 2010.
This all sounds great, but of course there's a catch. The city would have to contribute to the project a loan of up to $14 million in taxpayer money. And for the larger Urban Renewal Plan to be completed, the city would have to find private investors and organizations willing to jump on board. If the city decides not to pursue the hotel project and gets no other Threefoot development offers, it would have to spend $3 to $5 million non-refundable dollars demolishing the building.
Weighing the pros and cons
- Local News
City defends plan to drain lake
City officials say they need to drain Long Creek Reservoir and cut a 40-foot section out of the lake's dam to protect lives and property downstream, but it is unclear from engineering reports and state officials if the dam needs to be totally drained and breached to shore up the dam.
State officials said city needs to contact feds about bald eagles
If there are bald eagles nesting at Long Creek Reservoir, then city officials need to contact the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, said Nick Winstead, an ornithologist with the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, & Parks Museum of Natural Science.
Long Road Ahead
Monday marks three months since the April 28 tornado ripped through Decatur, causing extensive damage to homes, businesses and government buildings.
- BACK TO BACK
Decatur road work ramping up
Work began earlier this month to resurface an 11-mile stretch of Highway 503 in Decatur.
College programs aim at enabling the ‘New Creatives’
When Adobe launched its 2014 Release of the Creative Cloud the announcement video opened with interviews from a complex group of people who they referred to as “The New Creatives.”
- Meridian Civitan earns top honors
- MCC PTA program earns top scores
- DYW OF MISSISSIPPI
- Completing a life long goal
- More Local News Headlines
- City defends plan to drain lake