The former campus of the Mississippi School for the Blind in Jackson has a new owner as of today and plans are underway for a mixed-use development on 21 acres.
The land was purchased by District Land Development Company, LLC for $3.3 million, and the site's redevelopment into "The District at Eastover" is estimated to generate 600 jobs. The project, once fully built-out, has the potential to bring in about $1.9 million annually to the city and about $4.9 million annually to the state.
"This development will bring jobs and services to our capital city," Gov. Phil Bryant said. "This purchase puts a vacant site to use and has promise for the Jackson metro area."
In 2010, lawmakers passed a bill that allows the Department of Finance and Administration to seek proposals from developers to build mixed-use developments as well as lease or sell land to developers. This Senate bill was approved when Bryant served as lieutenant governor.
DFA issued a request for proposals (RFP) in September 2010, and The District Land Development Company, LLC, through its manager Duckworth Realty, won the bid. Duckworth Realty is managed by Ted Duckworth and Breck Hines.
The District at Eastover will feature 500,000 square feet of retail, office, hotel, restaurants and residential space. The development will be family oriented, and it maintains the property's natural assets, such as trees and public green spaces. Retail areas will have cafes and outdoor dining.
"We are pleased to have the opportunity to design a special development that provides our Metropolitan community a pedestrian-friendly environment to shop, dine, live and work," said Ted Duckworth, the project developer. "The project will benefit from its successful surroundings, as it sits in one of most affluent and densely populated areas in the State.
"We began working on this project in 2006 with the desire to create a special place that further enhances the quality of life for the people of Jackson and supports the growth occurring throughout the metro area. We are excited to now take the next step in that process."
This price of $3.3 million was based on an average of two appraisals procured by DFA. In accordance with the legislation, $1.2 million of the funds from the sale will be used to build a new storage and building maintenance facility on the grounds of the MS School for the Blind and a new residence for the superintendent of the Mississippi School for the Blind. The balance of the funds will be deposited into a special fund designated as the School for the Blind Trust Fund.
"We believe that this project will spark tremendous economic development opportunities and growth for Jackson and Mississippi," Kevin J. Upchurch, executive director of the Department of Finance and Administration said.