$82M Restoration of Historic Mississippi Hotel Underway

Work has commenced on the comprehensive renovation of Jackson, Miss.’s landmark King Edward Hotel. The $82 million conversion of the lodging facility into a Hilton Garden Inn hotel with residential units is being spearheaded by a joint venture consisting of Watkins Partners, HRI Properties and New Orleans Saints running back Deuce McAllister. Vacant for the last four decades, the 85-year-old King Edward (pictured) is located in the city’s historic downtown area, which has been tapped for revitalization. When the redevelopment of the property is completed, it will feature 186 guestrooms, 64 apartments, 5,000 square feet of meeting space and a fitness facility, as well as an upscale restaurant and bar. The addition of multiple offerings to the building was planned for a distinct purpose. “We have found that residential units are important for the revitalization of a downtown area,” Hal Fairbanks, HRI vice president for business development, told CPN today. “By mixing uses and having residences, you create the need for retail and restaurants that may not otherwise have a place downtown. Also, there is a latent demand for housing there; if there were more units, there would be more demand.” The building’s neo-classical façade will be incorporated into the renovation. Construction activity will be led by Clayco and will conclude within the next 18 months. Local and state officials’ eagerness to commence the renaissance of the state capital’s downtown area helped paved the way for the project’s financing. Historic and new market tax credits, GO Zone bonds, and financial contributions from the City of Jackson and the Mississippi Development Authority have been culled to fund the endeavor. But HRI doesn’t plan to wrap up its participation in downtown Jackson’s revitalization with the King Edward. The company has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Jackson Redevelopment Authority to acquire the former Standard Life Insurance Co. building located diagonal to the King Edward. HRI is envisioning a conversion of the structure that would add about 72 residential units and ground-level retail to the block. Jackson-based Watkins, which has been campaigning for King Edward’s redevelopment for the last four years, is a network of independent companies providing a range of services including real estate development, economic development and financing. HRI, headquartered in New Orleans, is a full-service national real estate development company well-known for its skills in the adaptive reuse of historic properties.