There’s no shortage of activity in “Jackson’s Hippest Neighborhoodâ„¢.”

From new buildings to new owners, anniversaries and awards, here’s a look back at the past twelve months in Fondren.

Whitney Place Hotel Planned
The Whitney Place Development Group formally announced their partnership with Jackson-based Desai Hotel Group to construct a 111 room hotel in Fondren. The “boutique-style” Hampton Inn will be located at 3111 North State Street between Butterfly Yoga and The Pig & Pint on the site long occupied by Rankin Interiors. No ground breaking date has been set.


Whitney Place Hotel | Image: LLW Architects

3000 Old Canton Road Sold
A landmark Fondren building sold to new owners who have the neighborhood’s local flavor and iconic character in mind. The five-story tower, known to many as 3000 Old Canton, was purchased from A. G. Helton by Little York Capital, a firm headquartered in Nebraska. The building has tenants like Surin of Thailand, Mississippi Kidney Foundation and Creative Distillery. The Overby Company manages the property.

Eubanks Creek Improvements
Conditional approval was granted for Eubanks Creek flood plain revision. The work to produce the change in the flood plain, once accepted by FEMA, would lower the flood plain in some places two to three feet, giving some residents the ability to cancel their flood insurance all together, if not significantly lower their premiums.

Winter 2015-16 developments included Wier Boerner Allin breaking ground on 2727 Old Canton Road with plans to convert the Jones & Haas designed late modernist building into their offices. The Meridian opened pre-leasing of their 240 unit art-deo style mid-rise apartments.Move-ins began by late summer. The Precinct, a mixed use retail and office loft at 3304 North State Street, began leasing. And BancorpSouth announced plans to build a new branch on the location of their current one in Fondren. The building was completed in late December.


The new BancorpSouth Medical Center branch

Winter 2015-16 Restaurant and Retail saw Highland Village based Mozingo Clothiers announcing plans to move to Fondren’s Duling Avenue. The haberdasher took the space once occupied by lululemon. And Fondren Fro-Yo opened its doors with fifteen flavors of frozen yogurt, complete with all the toppings.

Sanderson Pledge Leads Campaign
Joe and Kathy Sanderson are chairing a $100 million fundraising campaign for Children’s of Mississippi, the umbrella organization that includes all pediatric care at University of Mississippi Medical Center and Batson Children’s Hospital. Leading by doing, the CEO and chairman of the board of Sanderson Farms and his wife are not only heading up the drive, the largest in the history of Children’s of Mississippi, but they are also making the campaign’s first large gift: $10 million over the next five years.

First Lady Speaks
First Lady Michelle Obama spoke to 800 graduates of Jackson State University and an assembled crowd of 30,000+ at Veteran’s/Tiger Stadium in April. Mrs. Obama’s JSU speech was one of three commencement addresses she made this year. The others were in May at the Santa Fe Indian School and early June at the City College of New York campus in Harlem.

Spring Celebrations included a record-breaking crowd that took part in Fondren’s Zippity Doo Dah® Parade honoring first responders. Among the revelers was Ashley Nolen, who won the Patty Peck Honda Doo Dah Dayâ„¢ Blue Car Giveaway (a 2016 Honda Fit) as part of the weekend, all benefiting Friends of Children’s Hospital.

St. Dominic’s Hospital marked 70 years and ten years as partners with FRF’s Phoenix Initiative. The Dominican Sisters there also released a book by year’s end.

Saltine Oyster Bar Chef Jesse Houston was named a semifinalist by the James Beard Foundation for “Best Chef: South,” the highest award in the food world. Justin Devillier of La Petite Grocery in New Orleans was the winner out of 20,000 submissions.


Houston. Image: Mark Nardeccia

Que Sera Sera Out, Green Ghost In
Nearly three decades in, Boo Noble sold his tenured Fondren eatery, Que Sera Sera, in June to businessman Alan Lange, owner of the adjacent Kinetic Staffing. “After 27 wonderful years serving the Jackson metropolitan area, we […] decided to close our doors,” Noble said in a written statement. With that came news that Cesar Torres would open Green Ghost Tacos in its place. The authentic Mexican restaurant opened in late September.


Green Ghost Tacos

Pampered Pets
Josh and Stephanie Gilmer’s The Pet Shop of Fondren is officially open for business in Fondren Village. The “upscale modern” pet store offers dog food that is “90 percent holistic and grain free, suitable to dogs with food allergies and stomach issues.” Handmade leather collars and leashes, chicken supplies and toys round out the offerings.

New Faces
has a new general manager. Sarah Friedler, more recently with Steve’s Uptown Deli, took the lead this summer and says ticket times, food quality and consistency are her number one priorities. On Mitchell Avenue, Repeat Street owner Michele Austin purchased Orange Peel. “People love a bargain, the thrill of the hunt,” Austin says of the business (whose name will remain). And Jacksonian Mike Williams was welcomed as the new community pastor at St. Luke’s United Methodist Church, working alongside longtime Reverend Ricky James..

Beer Fest Success
It was another record-setting crowd for Fondren Renaissance’s 2nd Annual Mississippi Craft Beer Festival. Over 1,200 attended the event that focused on sampling over 100 beers from over two dozens brewers, many from Mississippi and across the south. With late June temperatures reaching nearly 100° that day, organizers are looking at a different date for next year.


Mississippi Craft Beer Festival | Image: Frank Farmer

St. Andrew’s Opens Early Childhood Center
St. Andrew’s Episcopal School has strengthened their ties to Jackson and to their youngest learners with the opening of their new Early Childhood Center on their lower school campus in Fondren. The 32,000 square foot state-of-the-art center will serve pre-K3, pre-K4, and kindergarten with Lois Kennedy Hall and Gertrude C. Ford Hall where there are 14 new classrooms in addition to new spaces for library, chapel, art, science, world languages, dance, and music.

Brent’s Turns 70
We celebrated a neighborhood icon in September as Brent’s Drugs – drug free since 2009 – recognized a major milestone, seventy years, with a party for their customers. The early fall celebration, complete with boozy shakes, Campbell’s birthday cake, live music from The Hustlers and, of course, classic diner favorites, packed the place out several times over.

Short Moves
Antiques retailer Zoubir Tabout is moving his shop from Fondren Plaza (next to Cups) across the street, to Fondren Village next to The Paper Place. Better parking – and a patio – were a draw.

Fondren Art Gallery headed two-tenths of a mile north to owner Richard McKey’s studio (yes, with the Obama head out front) to consolidate his framing, art sales and teaching operation.

EK Home Opens
Erik Kegler and partner Brennan Hovell (Erik Kegler Interiors, Eventful) have launched their newest venture, EK Home. The new interiors and design showroom, located in the former Harkins Florist space (4501 I-55 North) next to Banner Hall, is the culmination of years of searching and the need to streamline the operation.


Erik Kegler

Mantle Expands to Fondren Corner
Mantle Co.Working has announced Mantle.Suites at Fondren Corner in the space once occupied by Wier+Boerner+Allin Architects (who have since moved down the street to 2727 Old Canton Road).

“The new fully-private suites will have Mantle’s design flair while still allowing for members to completely seclude themselves from other suites … while on the phone or simply getting [things] done,” says Mantle founder, Christopher Lomax. “The Suites will come in three different sizes alongside two new conference rooms and a Mantle-inspired living room.”