Representing over $100 million in investment into the neighborhood, developers have their eyes set on Fondren’s future with hotels, apartments, philanthropic and technological ventures.

1 – American Cancer Society Hope Lodge

The Mississippi Hope Lodge, a $10 million undertaking, is set to be constructed on property owned by the University of Mississippi Medical Center (the former site of Schimmel’s restaurant). Kelly Doss, Executive Vice President of the Mid-south Division of the American Cancer Society said, “What we know about cancer treatment is that the ability of the patients to access their care, which means having a place to stay when they travel away from home, is critically important to getting a good diagnosis on the cancer treatment.”

Other Hope Lodges located throughout the region are in New Orleans, Birmingham, Memphis and Nashville. In 2012, 255 Mississippi families used facilities in the mid-south division for a total of 3,782 nights of stay provided. Hope Lodges across the country provided nearly 262,000 nights of stay at no cost, saving cancer patients and their families more than $26 million dollars. This project received a $3 million gift from the Gertrude C. Ford Foundation.

2 – Taylor Court, Oxford Court and Downing Court

Taylor Court, Oxford Court and Downing Court will feature 163 one, two and three bedroom apartments between the streets of Taylor, Oxford, Downing and Lorenz. The development is being financed through the sale of the Housing Tax Credits awarded by the Mississippi Home Corporation and through permanent financing and is being spearheaded by Triangle Development Corporation. Amenities include an on-site business center, fitness center and security along with 300 spaces of on-site parking.

3 – The Meridian

Following a years-in-the-making competitive proposal process, UMMC has partnered with a private group, SKD Development, LLC, which will lease a 4.4-acre property from the medical center to construct a $33 million apartment home development on Lakeland Drive.

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.

Features 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,” said developer Stewart Speed.

4 – The Fondren

A new landmark and economic driver will begin to rise nine stories into Fondren’s skyline by year’s end. The 100 room “boutique hotel” will be developed on the corner of Mitchell Avenue and State Street and utilizes and preserves the current mid-century modern Kolb’s Cleaners as the hotel’s lobby.

The hotel will feature meeting and conference spaces, a hotel bar, fitness center, an outdoor “brick yard” amphitheater and festival space, and a ninth floor rooftop bar, The Asylum, which boasts a 270 degree view from the highest point in the neighborhood. The $20 million project, developed by Eldon Development Group with its partner, CDA Hospitality, is being heralded for its potential to spark an already fast-growing Fondren economy.

5 – Venyu / UMMC Telehealth

Venyu Solutions, who specializes in the redundancy and protection of data for major corporations with clients like Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Louisiana and the New Orleans Saints, is looking to create valued partnerships such as these in Mississippi.

Such is the case with University of Mississippi Medical Center, who has entered into a lease agreement with Venyu to construct a stand-alone, 16,000-square-foot facility on the property at Meadowbrook Road and State Street in North Fondren. The new building will accommodate the increase in the services UMMC’s Center for Telehealth provides to hospitals, clinics, corporations and patients across the state.

The technology center site falls in line with a health-care corridor that’s been lauded by state leaders. The repurposing of the now empty store and parking lot also falls in line with the revitalization of the city, a key goal celebrated by Jackson’s leaders.

Update: Developer Jason Watkins says we’ll see construction beginning in the next few days on the former McRae’s. The UMMC telehealth building will follow soon after. As for Eubanks Creek and flood control measures promised by Mayor Yarber, Watkins says the City of Jackson has assured the project is at the top of their priorities.