HomeBusinessPurchase of Jackson Plaza approved by City Council

Purchase of Jackson Plaza approved by City Council

The Jackson City Council approved the acquisition of The Jackson Plaza in its first meeting of the new year. The 22-acre property on Old Hickory Blvd. has sat mostly vacant for the better part of 20 years, and will cost the City $4 million. 

The acquisition was approved on its second reading by a vote of 7-1, with David Cisco (Dist. 2) voting “no” and Marda Wallace (Dist. 7) absent. 

The City is expecting to close on the property in as little as 55 days after the contract is signed by both parties. After that, they will start the master plan for the Old Hickory/ North Highland area and the feasibility study for the project. 

“Plan A is an arena and convention center. We haven’t gotten to the point of planning that out. Ideally, a hotel will go along with a convention center,” Mayor Scott Conger said after the meeting. “So once we get to those steps, then we can start talking to hotels about partnering.” 

Conger also referenced a study from 2017, saying that area was determined to be the second-best location in Jackson for a convention center. The first-best was Downtown.

When the property agreement was announced in December, Conger received pushback on social media. Councilman David Cisco (Dist. 2)  was the only councilman to vote “no” on the acquisition. 

“Not 100% [of people] are happy with anything we do,” Conger said, “I’m not going to change their mind.

“Our prerogative is to cast a vision to improve Jackson. Just wait and see. To make a snap judgment or a snap decision prior to what’s been accomplished and what’s been developed. I mean, look at the alternative, having two businesses in a 221,000 sq. ft. facility that’s vacant, that’s just adding to the deterioration to the neighborhood and the center of our city. So that’s the other option we have right now. Or, we can move forward with some progress and make some investments in the center of our city and redevelop that part of town.”

The property is currently owned by the Rosenblum family, with a land-lease agreement managed by Aranov. The lease was supposed to end in 2026. Citi Trends and The Learning House are currently the only two businesses using the space. 

“We’re not demolishing the building yet. We want to be good partners. We don’t want to send someone out to find a spot until they’re ready, until we’re ready. We’ve got an agreement with those tenants to let them know when we get to a plan, whether that’s 10 months from now or 1.5 years from now, that they have time to occupy those spaces,” Conger said.

During the first reading, Mayor Conger and Councilman Paul Taylor said they expect the master plan and feasibility studies to take at least eight months. 

Men’s homeless shelter

Construction on the proposed men’s homeless shelter is moving forward. The City Council voted to approve the contract with Henson Construction Services to complete the project. 

The design phase should take three months and site work will begin in April. Chief Innovation Officer Lauren Kirk said the shelter should be completed by winter of 2023. 

“We have so many amazing nonprofits that do the best they can partnering with churches and hotels to house people, but a shelter really is able to provide those centralized services that people need to succeed to transition to the next step.” said Chief Innovation Officer, Lauren Kirk. “A few years ago we had the unfortunate death of an unhoused member of our community that really spurred our office to look and see what we can do to do something about this and create a shelter. 

“At the time, there was some HUD funding available. So all of this is grant funded, and in the second and third phases we hope to find more grants to do it in a way that is cost-saving for the city, but also a much-needed resource for the city.”

The shelter will be located on McCorry St., near Airways Blvd. and RIFA. It is expected to house 10 men at the beginning, with space to expand when Dept. of Housing and Urban Development Covid restrictions open up. 

The Place at Jackson

The City Council also approved $100,000 on its first reading in American Rescue Plan Act funds to go to The Place at Jackson, a shelter for women experiencing homelessness. The one-time funding was approved 7-1, with Sam Turner (Dist. 1) voting “no” and Marda Wallace absent.

More information about The Place at Jackson is coming soon. 

Road work

The City Council approved a plan on its first reading to fund part of the Tennessee Department of Transportation’s plan to widen Christmasville Road at the I-40 interchange. The City will pay $410,000 to complete the city-owned roads near the interstate. City Engineer Stan Pilant said during the meeting that typically projects like this take 3 years to complete. The vote was made 7-0.

The City Council also approved a grant they applied for more than two years ago. The $1 million Multi-Modal TDOT grant will connect sidewalks from the Jackson-Madison Co. Health Department to the Lynnwood Shopping Center. The vote was 8-0. Julia Ewoldt, julia@jacksonpost.news



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