I got my hopes up today when I saw an item on a city council workshop meeting agenda about a tax increment financing (TIF) for a hotel project in downtown Jackson. We've heard rumors for weeks the city is close to a deal with a hotel management group to build and open a much-needed convention center hotel.
Unfortunately, this wasn't it.
The city council meeting didn't happen because there weren't four members present at 4 p.m., but mayor Harvey Johnson Jr. stuck around long enough to fill us in on that item.
"This is not the much-anticipated convention center hotel," Johnson said. "This is another much-anticipated hotel down on West Street at the site of the old Mississippi Valley Title building. ... It's a good project, it's an exciting project, but it's not the convention center hotel."
Westin Hotels has apparently bought the old MS Valley Title building, and plans on tearing it down to put in a hotel at the same location. Details on the plan are not available yet, but the agenda item to be voted on by the city council at tomorrow's regularly-scheduled 10 a.m. meeting calls for the city to provide tax incentives not to exceed $1.75 million to the hotel group.
The mayor added that they are in talks with a hotel group about the convention center hotel project, and that hopefully they would have something to say about that before the end of the month, which is his last day in office before mayor-elect Chokwe Lumumba takes office on July 1.
"We just need to figure out exactly what we need to do to make sure of what the city's portion of the deal would be, and try to get some indication from them that that proposal would be acceptable," Johnson said. "Then they can move ahead with some financing. At that point, we'll pass some kind of resolution of support or something along those lines."
Hopefully the city council will get a quorum tomorrow, because I'd sure like to hear more about the deal.