Planned project to breathe new life into Meadowbrook Mart

Upscale lofts could replace the empty, dilapidated buildings that make up the Meadowbrook Mart mall in Jackson.

Gabriel Prado, CEO and President of PraCon Global Investment Group, shared plans with the Fondren Renaissance Foundation to redevelop the site at 3153 Meadowbrook Rd. which includes a former McRae department store converted into lofts.

Prado, who briefed the Mayor and Jackson City Council on the development, confirmed in a text message that PraCon had acquired the former McRae site “for the purpose of bringing a 60 +/- million dollars of high-end lofts” to anchor the development.

He would not provide additional details, Prado said, because PraCon wants to be respectful of the zoning process it is working on.

“That being said, we are so grateful to the City of Jackson leadership and staff for all of their incredible support,” he said in a text message.

The PraCon project north of Fondren will be equivalent to those developed by Mike Peters in the center of Fondren. Peters developed Fondren Corner and Duling School, Prado said.

In a Feb. 3 letter sent to landowners within 160 feet of the site, affected neighborhood associations and members of city council advising them of the rezoning request, Prado wrote, “We believe this proposed development will be the anchor needed to stimulate redevelopment in North Fondren that will have a positive social impact in the neighborhood.

Jackson City Council President Virgi Lindsay said the project looks promising, could be an asset to the city and neighborhood, and would increase the tax base.

Ward 1 City Council member Ashby Foote called the plans exciting and said every time investors pour money into projects like this, it builds confidence in the city.

DMG Real Estate Holdings 319 Meadowbrook LLC has applied to rezon the general commercial district C-3 and the single-family residential district R-1 to the pedestrian-oriented mixed commercial district CMU-1 for the property located at 3153 Meadowbrook Road.

The property consists of a commercial building with one tenant (Advance America Cash Advance) and two vacant commercial buildings. The CVS Pharmacy at 305 Meadowbrook Rd. is not included in the redevelopment plans.

PraCon plans to introduce the project to the community at a town hall meeting on March 16 at 6 p.m. at its office at 3220 N. State St., which is at the corner of North State Street and Patton Avenue.

The Jackson City Planning Board has scheduled a public hearing on the application for March 23 at 1:30 p.m. in the Andrew Jackson Conference Room in the Warren A. Hood Building, 200 S. President St.

The planning board will make a recommendation on the rezoning, which may be appealed. If there is no appeal, the Jackson City Council will then consider the planning board’s recommendation.

If there is no objection, City Council will hear the recommendation in April.

In 2015, a project was announced between the University of Mississippi Medical Center and Baton Rouge-based data company Venyu Solutions to turn the property into a hub for the hospital’s telehealth program, but the project fell through. failed.

David Pharr and Jason Watkins, who developed the $15 million entertainment destination in Fondren which includes the Capri Theatre, Highball Lanes and The Pearl, have been hired to redevelop the former McRae department store at Meadowbrook Mart into a hub for UMMC’s telehealth program and successfully secured various incentives, but the deal fell through after the relevant business was sold and the buyer did not proceed with the project.

Many Jackson residents still fondly remember McRae’s at Meadowbrook Mart, which was the city’s first full-service department store in the suburbs and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The two-story store built on the site in 1962 was Meadowbrook Mart’s flagship store until its closure in 2005.

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