JRA Restarts Convention Center Bids, Gannett Splits, MUW Business Grant | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

JRA Restarts Convention Center Bids, Gannett Splits, MUW Business Grant

Like many Gannett properties, The Clarion-Ledger has suffered a steady decline in readership in circulation over recent years, bringing its Sunday circulation (the biggest day for dailies) to around 60,000 in 2013.

Like many Gannett properties, The Clarion-Ledger has suffered a steady decline in readership in circulation over recent years, bringing its Sunday circulation (the biggest day for dailies) to around 60,000 in 2013. Photo by Trip Burns.

JRA Restarts Bids for Convention Center Hotel

City and economic-development officials announced this month that a new request for proposals of the planned convention-center hotel across the street from the Jackson Convention Complex is going out soon. At a meeting of the Jackson Redevelopment Authority earlier this month, commissioners said they expected the deadline for bids to be Oct. 15.

The project has been on delay for years. In 2007, at the insistence of then-Mayor Frank Melton, JRA made a controversial agreement with Dallas-based developer TCI that included securing a $7 million federal Housing and Urban Development loan designed to encourage urban economic growth. The deal with TCI fell apart, however, and the dispute over who owned the land ended up in state court.

Last year, outgoing Mayor Harvey Johnson Jr. and incoming Mayor Chokwe Lumumba announced a deal for the lagging idea. In that agreement, Jackson Convention Hotel LLC., operated by father-and-son team Robinson and Andre Callen, would develop a $60 million, 305-room hotel across the street from the Jackson Convention Complex and connect it to the complex via skywalk. The developers would work in conjunction with Hyatt Hotels to build a first-rate establishment with meeting areas, a full-service restaurant and parking.

Gannett to Split into Two Companies

Gannett Co. Inc., parent company of The Clarion-Ledger and many other media outlets, announced today that the company will split into two separate publicly traded companies, with one controlling Gannett's broadcasting and digital business and the other controlling its publishing business.

The company will implement the splitting off of the publishing business through a tax-free distribution of Gannett's publishing assets to shareholders. The broadcasting and digital company, which has not been named, will retain Gannett's existing debt, while the publishing company will keep the Gannett name.

Like many Gannett properties, The Clarion-Ledger has suffered a steady decline in readership in circulation over recent years, bringing its Sunday circulation (the biggest day for dailies) to around 60,000 in 2013. Earlier this year, Gannett attempted to fatten The Clarion-Ledger and other newspapers, which had already shrunk in dimension, by inserting USA Today into the papers, in what it called the Butterfly Initiative.

The Clarion-Ledger is also facing another publisher change, with its 6th publisher since 2004 taking over the business reins soon.

Gannett also announced that it signed a definitive agreement to acquire full ownership of Cars.com. Under the agreement, Gannett will acquire the 73 percent interest it does not already own in Cars.com's parent company, Classified Ventures LLC, for $1.8 billion in cash.

MUW Receives Small Business Grant

The Mississippi University for Women (1100 College St., Columbus) and 10 other rural microenterprises across the nation recently received $30,000 grants from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to provide support for job growth and business development in their communities.

The chosen organizations use the funds, which they receive through the Department's Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program, to invest in local, small businesses that need help to obtain the credit they need to grow and thrive.

The USDA says the grants are intended to support community development, job creation and economic stability. The Mississippi University for Women will use the funds to provide training and technical assistance to eligible small businesses.

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