Developers of the mixed-use project, The Meridian at Fondren, are giving a new look into plans for their 240 luxury apartment homes on Lakeland Drive.

Those passing by the 4.4 acre site just across from the northern edge of the University of Mississippi Medical Center campus can see the five-story Meridian’s progress where demolition of existing structures began in late 2014.

“This is the very best location for something like this,” said Stewart Speed, a partner in SKD Development, responsible for the project’s financing, construction oversight, and apartment, office and retail leasing and management. Speed’s own home is just blocks from the Meridian. “Fondren has it all, except there’s a lack of high-end rental housing.”

When building is complete, The Meridian’s art deco architecture will be set off by signature vertical signage along Lakeland Drive, bearing the name “Meridian.” The top four stories are residential, with the street level home to mostly retail and office space.

The Meridian’s jewels are its studio, one, two and three bedroom apartment homes, with monthly rentals ranging from $900-$1,600. There will be about 4,000 square feet available on the first floor for retail operations, such as a deli or coffee shop, and for meeting rooms.

What sets it apart from other apartment home construction, in addition to its sense of community and unique location in Fondren, is its amenities, Speed says.

Every apartment will have a balcony, either full or Juliet, Speed said. Residents can choose from surface or garage parking, and they’ll work out in an aerobics and yoga studio at a high-end fitness center “with specialized equipment equal to what you’d find at local facilities,” Speed said.

Other features – some tweaked for younger residents – include a pool area that includes a sun deck, an outdoor kitchen with grilling pavilion and televisions, and a swimming pool “water curtain” similar to a constant waterfall. “It will be unlike anything currently in the Jackson area,” Speed explained.

Pets will also be welcomed. Landscaped green space beside the Meridian will include a gated dog park. “You can sit on a bench and watch your dogs run around and play,” Speed said. Residents also will enjoy additional green space and a walking trail behind the Meridian.

And, the Meridian’s debut in the neighborhood will directly impact the 450-plus merchants and businesses in Fondren. That base includes locally owned restaurants and niche retail establishments, professional services, churches and venues for art.

“You can put away the car keys and walk to dinner or work in five minutes” said Tyler Kassinger, whose Kassinger Development Group is a partner in constructing the $33 million project. “You’re not driving anywhere.”

“The Meridian will bring over 400 new residents to the Fondren neighborhood,” said John Ditto, president of StateStreetGroup LLC, which also owns the Fondren Hill and Vieux Carre apartments. “These residents will shop at area merchants and dine in local restaurants, providing a significant economic boost to the neighborhood.”

Announced in May 2014, The Meridian is slated for completion by early to mid-2016. UMMC is leasing the land to SKD Development, which also includes an affiliate of Jackson-based StateStreet Group LLC and Kassinger Development Group.

UMMC will not own or manage any of the development, but officials there applaud the addition of top-rate living space on the edge of campus and the availability of new retail shops to UMMC employees, patients and their families.

“We anticipate that the Meridian will attract not only UMMC personnel and others from the larger medical community, but anyone and everyone who appreciates the walkable, vibrant environment of Fondren,” Speed said.

“We will be incubating future Fondren homeowners,” Ditto added. “We look forward to being a part of the fabric of Fondren.”

Pre-leasing should begin in late 2015. Visit to learn more.