Farish Battle Lines Drawn | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

Farish Battle Lines Drawn

Mayor Frank Melton and the recently formed Farish Street District Redevelopment Ad Hoc Committee are holding a Nov. 15 public forum at the Smith Robertson Museum to address delays in the development of the Farish Street Entertainment District, overseen by Memphis-based Performa Entertainment Real Estate Inc.

"One can hardly believe that the redevelopment efforts for the Farish Street Historic Neighborhood District began over 27 years ago," stated a city press release with no author listed. "It was in February 1980 that the Farish Street neighborhood became listed on the National Register of Historic Places. … What has transpired over these 27 years? This is exactly the question (Jackson) Mayor Frank Melton, taxpayers and other stakeholders would like to have answered."

Melton and his supporters on the Council—Frank Bluntson, Kenneth Stokes and Charles Tillman–say they are concerned about delays in the development. Performa has secured tenant agreements with companies like the Funny Bone Comedy Club, the Beale Street Blues Club, Wet Willie's and other companies, but Performa CEO John Elkington said the company must first deal with structural problems outside its control.

Bank loans from Trustmark National Bank limit production to only a handful of developments at a time, and Elkington complains that any more development hinges upon the company's ability to overcome the issues surrounding 230 Farish Street—the future sit of Wet Willie's.

Performa sent an Oct. 12 letter to the Jackson Redevelopment Authority, outlining several major issues with some properties. Performa learned that many buildings do not have either water, sewer or gas connections to the street, and that there is asbestos in some buildings, contrary to information provided by city officials. The company also recently learned that Jackson's Historic Preservation Commission tabled a decision to allow Performa to demolish 230 Farish St., despite the Mississippi Department of Archives and History de-certifying the address of its historical designation.

"The city attorney would say things like, 'John, why haven't you gotten me a permit,' and I have to say, "because I haven't had permission to tear the building down, yet.' They don't understand the processes and complication involved here," Elkington said.

Elkington said the Historic Preservation Commission is reconsidering Performa's request to demolish 230 Farish St. this week.

The forum will be 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday at the Smith Robertson Museum at 528 Bloom St.

Previous Comments


frank has a nerve to now pretend as if he is genuinely interested in Farish St. It is also very interesting to see his "support" from Tilman, Bluntson, and Stokes. Anytime there four are together, just know that "ain't nothing wrong; but, something ain't right." Adam Lynch, since so much of the previous work was done by the Johnson Administration and most of the negotiated contracts were done by Johnson, why not contact Johnson?


Thanks to all our new JFP VIPs!

COVID-19 has closed down the main sources of the JFP's revenue -- concerts, festivals, fundraisers, restaurants and bars. If everyone reading this article gives $5 or more, we should be able to continue publishing through the crisis. Please pay what you can to keep us reporting and publishing.


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

comments powered by Disqus