hattiesburgamerican.com

Via hattiesburgamerican.com

On Thursday, officials held a groundbreaking for The District at Midtown, an upcoming mixed-use development off Hardy Street. The ceremony was held on the south lawn of the University of Southern Mississippi.

A decade after the start of a master plan to redevelop midtown Hattiesburg, Gov. Phil Bryant said Thursday “the dream is being fulfilled” during a groundbreaking for The District at Midtown held on the south lawn of the University of Southern Mississippi.

“What we’re doing here today, in this midtown, is the expansion of this dream,” Bryant said. “The dream that expands from this campus, from that administration building, to city hall. From city hall to the Capitol, to the courthouse, to the offices of the (Mississippi Development Authority).”

The ceremony — which was sponsored by the Area Development Partnership — was held to commemorate the start of construction on The District at Midtown, a mixed-use development at the property on Hardy Street where the Elam Arms dormitory and parking lot once stood.

The first phase of the development will consist of a 100-room Hotel Indigo — a boutique hotel with locations in the United States, Canada, Mexico and China — which will be located at the corner of South 31st Avenue and Chevy Chase Drive. As each Hotel Indigo is designed with a particular neighborhood theme, Hattiesburg’s hotel will bear the design of the Hub City’s timber and rail industry, along with Southern Miss decor.

Construction begins at The District at Midtown

The District at Midtown also will feature 17,541 square feet of restaurant space, including Newk’s Eatery, Pyro’s Fire Fresh Pizza, Rock n Roll Sushi, Chicken Salad Chick, Fuzzy’s Tacos and The Midtowner, a brunch concept from Hattiesburg restaurateur Robert St. John. That’s in addition to 23,958 square feet of retail space — with homes for 5 Star Nutrition, AT&T, Hancock Bank and South Boutique — and luxury apartments.

The project represents a $35 million investment and is expected to create 200 jobs in the area. It’s also expected to attract even more attention to an area that employs more than 7,500 workers through Forrest General Hospital, Hattiesburg Clinic and Southern Miss, as well as the university’s 14,000 students.

“With our county’s three largest employers and university student base clustered in midtown, redeveloping this area makes perfect sense,” said David Hogan, president of the Forrest County Board of Supervisors. “The District at Midtown will serve our citizens as a premier shopping, dining and living location in the heart of our region.

“The addition of the state’s first Hotel Indigo will be icing on the cake as it becomes another prominent feature of the local community, alongside Forrest General, Hattiesburg Clinic and the University of Southern Mississippi. The Indigo will serve our existing economic pillars, and will help us lure in additional new businesses.”

The District at Midtown got its start about two years ago, when Southern Miss officials accepted Requests for Proposals for the land off Hardy Street. Developer Rob Tatum then laid out plans for the site, and construction began in February under the purvey of Florence-based Probity Contracting Group.

The development is being undertaken with Tatum and his brother Craig — partners in CR Properties — along with David Oliver, partner Joel Ingram and Hattiesburg architect Larry Albert. “With construction crews on the scene, officials expect to have the hotel finished within 14 months, with the rest of the development on a slightly faster time schedule.

“As the saying goes, it takes a village to raise a child, and with this project it took the whole state,” Tatum said. “Our partnership group is very excited about this project and all the possibilities that this project will bring to the midtown area and the city of Hattiesburg.”

Back in November, Hattiesburg City Council approved an agreement with Hub City contractor Shows Dearman & Waits to upgrade or replace the existing drainage system, sanitary sewer systems and water lines near the site. The work is taking place along South 30th Avenue, Chevy Chase Drive and 31st Avenue.

“There will be other groundbreakings and ribbon cuttings and opportunities for Hattiesburg,” Bryant said. “Because once you begin to succeed, it grows, then the next project seems closer — it seems more realistic.

“Nothing is beyond our grasp. This is a day that we will look back upon and say that when we began to grow The District at Midtown, little did we realize that it was simply the stone hitting the water, and the ripples would go out all across Mississippi.”