Convention Hotel Coming to Mississippi?

Four years after its opening, the Jackson Convention Complex in Jackson, Miss., may finally get a convention hotel, local newspaper The Clarion-Ledger reported last week.

When it opened in 2009, the convention center was supposed to be connected by sky bridge to an adjacent hotel. The plan to build said hotel, however, has floundered several times in the years since. In 2011, for instance, the Jackson Redevelopment Authority (JRA), which is in charge of the hotel project, rejected two proposals from interested developers.

The latest proposal — for a $60 million, 12-story, 350-room hotel in downtown Jackson, courtesy of Florida-based developer The Callen Group — is a “much, much better deal,” according to outgoing Jackson Mayor Harvey Johnson Jr.

“This is a great step, a giant step, a monumental step,” Johnson said at a news conference, according to The Clarion-Ledger. “And it’s taken a long time to get here, but in the end, this hotel will elevate Jackson as a true destination city — a city that will be able to compete with other cities for conventions and other types of business meetings all across the southeastern United States.”

Although Johnson was optimistic about the new hotel proposal, the decision to move forward ultimately belongs to his predecessor, Chokwe Lumumba, who took office July 1.

As Clarion-Ledger business reporter Jeff Ayres said in a blog post published today: “A new hotel proposal. A new mayor. A new plan. A new way forward for the development? We’ll see.”