hotel1Fondren Place Development Group has entered into a joint venture with Jackson-based Desai Hotel Group to build a 100 room “boutique style” Hampton Inn hotel at the corner of Old Canton Road and Duling Avenue.

A groundbreaking date is hoped for by the end of the year (the project never took off), though Desai president and CEO, Sunny Desai, says it’s a process. “We’re in the preliminary stages of design, trying to figure out the look, working with the Mississippi Department of Archives and History to adhere to the standards for the area,” he says.

LLW Architects, a firm from Memphis specializing in urban hospitality architecture, will design what Desai calls a “modern, historical look” for the four story building. “It’s a more modern feel – not your cookie-cutter Hampton Inn,” Desai explained. “The inside will be very Fondren.” Interiors will be handled by Fondren’s own Courtney Peters Designs/Mosaic and DBG Construction of Maryland will be the builder.

Plans call for 3,000 square feet of retail space on the west side of the development, facing Babalu. Underground parking will be complimented by a proposed on-site parking agreement with Fondren Church and Woodland Hills.

The hotel property, which has been vacant for many years, has always had plans for a building. “Anyone who has any memory can look back at the original designs,” says Fondren Place Development Group partner, Mike Peters. “When we made the deal with the school, it was always intended for the two lots to have sister buildings (Fondren Place is one of those, the building where Bank Plus is located.) The scale and scope is no different than that of the buildings that have been shown since day one.”

Desai Hotel Group has three other hotel properties around the state and will soon open a fourth in Hernando. A recent example of their work can be found in the Holiday Inn on High Street in Jackson and, soon to open, a Hampton Inn and Suites at The Township in Ridgeland.

“What we are bringing in will enhance the community,” Desai said. “When you’re inviting people to stay in Jackson, they can experience Fondren’s atmosphere by staying on site — eating, shopping and spending money in Fondren.”

Desai’s interest in the development, he says, is genuine. “We’re local and we like to think we do a good job. We’re going to be part of the community in this long-term investment. We’ll give back and be involved. I think people will be really happy.”

Update: This project was scrapped shortly after being announced. Desai has signed on to a new hotel project at the Whitney Place Development just west of this location.