Central Mississippi-based Heritage Hospitality Group, a locally-owned and fully integrated hotel development, construction and management company, announced plans today for a 125 room Homewood Suites hotel to be located on North State Street near The University of Mississippi Medical Center in Fondren.
In addition to 125 spacious suite-style rooms – some with State Street facing balconies – the property boasts an outdoor courtyard, an indoor pool, sufficient guest parking and all of the amenities that Homewood Suites are known for. The hotel will feature an urban-modern style of architecture and interior furnishings, designed in harmony with other neighborhood developments.
The property also offers approximately 4,000 square feet of enclosed retail space. Tenants for this space have not been secured at this stage of the project.
The current site on North State Street, bounded by Fondren Place and Lorenz Avenue, is currently comprised of single family, multi-family and commercial properties that, according to property owners, “are at the end of their useful life.”
Alan Lange, a business owner in Fondren for the last ten years, the original property owner who helped assemble the development parcel, and a Fondrenite, remains as a minor investor.
Lange says Heritage has done its homework and that the development is doing its diligence in balancing progress with history.
“We’ve spent many hours researching the possibility of relocating the ‘Fondren House,’ more recently used as offices,” Lange explains. “While the experts who have evaluated the structure indicate that the property is likely not financially feasible to relocate, we are still reviewing options for relocating that or possibly one of the other houses in the parcel for reuse.”
The former Que Sera Sera, now home to Green Ghost Tacos, will, however, fall to demolition. Green Ghost Tacos owner Cesar Torres is in the process of relocating, Lange tells, to a nearby Fondren spot but will be closed for several months in the interim.
“My sense is that Cesar’s food truck will remain highly visible in Fondren in the meantime,” Lange says. “He has been aware of the possibility for development for some time and has been a wonderfully cooperative partner in this endeavor.”
Jim Wilkirson, Fondren Renaissance Foundation executive director, referenced his organization’s “architectural statement of community” in speaking about the project, saying, “While encouraging historic preservation, FRF also welcomes new investment and development. Our neighborhood’s vibrancy proves the wisdom of blending old with new, authenticity with utility, and nostalgia with innovation. With every renovation, restoration or new construction, FRF’s hope is that the end product will convey the historic identity of the Downtown Fondren Historic Business District.”
Heritage Hospitality CEO Chico Patel said of today’s news, “The Homewood Suites Fondren/UMMC project is the culmination of over a two-year search to locate a Hilton branded hotel in Fondren. It has involved working with the City of Jackson and local neighborhood business leaders, and the result is something that will create an enormous financial benefit for both the city and neighboring businesses. This development will be another key piece to the Fondren business and economic renaissance.”
Homewood Suites by Hilton, part of Hilton’s All Suites portfolio, is geared toward multi-day business travelers who want a more authentic travel feel, weekend/event travelers for weddings hosted in Fondren, and is an ideal property to support hotel stays near the state’s largest collection of hospitals including University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMC), Blair E. Batson Hospital For Children, St. Dominic’s, the VA Hospital and Mississippi Baptist Medical Center. Guests will be able to walk or take an Uber to Jackson’s best restaurants, shops, galleries, concerts and nightlife.
Financing for the project will be provided by BancorpSouth and demolition should begin in the next 30 days.
Construction should take approximately 14 months, and developers are targeting an early 2019 opening date.
An earlier version of this story dated the Fondren House spoken of as a 1940s home. Some have disputed that date and say it was as early as 1905.