Threefoot still on track to open late next year

Bill Graham / The Meridian Star

The 16-story Threefoot Building in Meridian should be up and running as a Courtyard by Marriott hotel by the end of next year.

Threefoot building

The Threefoot Building, Meridian.

Although slightly behind schedule, the 16-story Threefoot Building in Meridian should be up and running as a Courtyard by Marriott hotel by the end of next year.

Initially scheduled to begin in July, Meridian Downtown Hotels, LLC is still working out the final details before the renovation process can begin.

Tray Hairston of Butler Snow LLP, who represents MDH, said an environmental consultant next week will take samples from inside the building to determine “the amount of asbestos, lead-based paint and/or hydraulic oils ... inside the building.”

The Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality should have the results of those tests ready some time next month, he said.

“MDH will work with MDEQ to determine a game plan for removal of the containments and demolition/construction inside the building and stands poised to start the process as soon as it has the green light from both MDEQ and City,” Hairston said. “MDH looks forward to bringing the Threefoot Building Courtyard Marriott to the City of Meridian.”

John Tampa, president of Ascent Hospitality Management LLC — MDH’s parent company — purchased the building from the city in January 2016, paying $10,000 "as-is" for the structure.

Once it’s renovated, the new hotel will have at least 135 rooms, along with a restaurant, a Starbucks coffee shop and 1,100-square feet of retail space on the bottom floor.

Tampa said in a previous report that Ascent is committed to spending at least $22 million to renovate the building.

Hairston on Wednesday said the project could cost “a little bit more than [$22 million] depending on what MDEQ says about the environmentals.”

“[The] timeline will also depend on DEQ as well,” Hairston said. “Nevertheless, the target completion date is by the close of 2018.”

On Aug. 1, the Mississippi Development Authority considered and approved a request for a certificate of public convenience and necessity. 

MDH also expects to receive its direct-pay permit and material-purchase certificate from the Mississippi Department of Revenue in the next few weeks.

Hairston said MDH has selected a tax-credit investor for its federal and state historic tax credits and has a term sheet from a Georgia-based bank for “money it intends borrow in addition to its own equity.”

The tax credits – 25 percent at the state level and 20 percent at the federal level – allow Ascent to take a total of 45 percent of the money spent on the project as a tax credit. The Threefoot Building was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1979 and designated a Mississippi Landmark in 2008. The Meridian City Council approved a final agreement for the sale of the building in October 2015.

MDH is also working on its application to MDA to receive the tourism tax rebate.

The building is Tampa's second hotel in Meridian, with the Fairfield Inn & Suites off U.S. Highway 11/80 being the first one.

Also on the horizon for Meridian are the Tru by Hilton hotel and a La Quinta Inn and Suites, both projects by Heritage Hospitality Group.

The Tru by Hilton will be located at 519 Azalea Drive — the old Crescent City Grill. The 86-room hotel is expected to open later this year.

Construction on a La Quinta hotel on North Frontage Road will begin after the collapsed culvert at the IHOP restaurant is repaired.

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