2015: The Year in Review in Fondren, Part 1
Ripe with development and forward thinking, here’s a look back at the stories we found in Fondren in 2015.
The Point Renovated, Sold
Fondren Point, at 2727 Old Canton Road, was the beneficiary of several hundred thousand dollars in upgrades and updates in January. Owned by State Street Group, the building was sold in November to Wier Boerner Allin Architects, who plan to occupy the second story with offices after several months of upgrades of their own.
Healthcare Corridor Housing Being Built
An $18.5 million multi-family housing development was announced in early February. 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 comes under the Mississippi Governor’s Health Care Zone initiative.
High Rise Apartments, The Meridian, Under Construction
Developers of the mixed-use project, The Meridian at Fondren, gave a new look into plans for their 240 luxury apartment homes on Lakeland Drive in February. 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.
First Thursdays Get Revamp, New Name
Chane’s out-of-the-box monthly event, Fondren’s First Thursday, launched in March. From artisan vendors to bands, food and beverage and kids activities, this revamp of the former Fondren After 5 still has Jackson talking, even prompting the city’s Mayor to call for similar events in other parts of town.
Making It Pop With Frozen Treats
For entrepreneurs Craig and Lori Kinsley, their Popsicle business, Pop Culture Pops, seemingly exploded overnight. The couple built a mobile cart in March to sell homemade frozen treats and have grown at a rapid pace. By the end of the year, they had taken up residence inside a more permanent space, the front of the Capri.
Jackson’s first suburban department store, the McRae’s at Meadowbrook Mart, was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in March. The property is under development by Venyu Solutions to be used as a data center and the home of the new University of Mississippi Medical Center Telehealth facility.
First-Ever FRF Craft Beer Fest Sells Out
Fondren Renaissance presented the Mississippi Craft Beer Festival in June, a first-ever event that sold out by 7pm, only two hours in. Held in cooperation with Southern Beverage and Capital City Beverage, the event offered tastings of beers from Mississippi brewers and selections from regional and national brewers, too. A 2016 event is planned.
Nine Story Hotel, The Fondren, Announced
A new landmark and economic driver — nine stories high, was announced in July. The 100 room “boutique” hotel, The Fondren, 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.
Gulf Returns to Fondren
After a 30 year absence, what once was Farmer’s Market Gulf returned to their Gulf roots after many years as a BP station. Owner Randy Phillips and manager Angie Templeton held a grand reopenhouse in July.
Chane’s Wonder Lab Opens
The Wonder Labâ„¢, an 1,800 square foot incubated “artist in residence” community, launched in August. Chane moved his Studio Chane Screenprinting to 3026 North State Street, the former home of Mulberry Dreams.
Related: Year in Review, Part 2 yir15