Former Alamo Theater sold to developers

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, April 27, 2004

[4/24/04]The former Alamo Theater building was sold Friday for $1 to private developers under the city’s downtown urban revitalization plan.

The Vicksburg Board of Mayor and Aldermen also voted Friday to advertise for bids to buy the former Sears building, now a Super 10. Both properties were purchased by the city last year.

“We’re excited to see a couple of young African-American professionals investing in downtown Vicksburg and we’re excited to see the (Alamo) building being restored back to its original design,” said Mayor Laurence Leyens.

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The city paid $68,900 for the building at 1501 Washington St., that had also been the Bell Brothers Shoe store and most recently T-Rel’s, a night club shut down under the previous administration. Under the deal with Nelson Cotton Property LLC, the developer who purchased the property has pledged to invest at least $200,000 in the property.

The partnership between Jackson attorneys Omar Nelson and Ramel Cotton has also presented plans to the city which include restoring the front of the building to the original design of the Alamo Theater and creating professional office and retail space.

Leyens said the city will make back any money lost from the sale in increased tax revenue on the property. He also said he expects the total cost of the project to be closer to $500,000.

That work is expected to begin in the next 30 days and be completed in the next 12 months.

Work has already begun at the former Western Auto building, 1517-19 Washington St., purchased from the city in January for $5,000.

Developer Buford Daryl Hollingsworth pledged $100,000 restoring the building for retail space and residential apartments.

The city had paid $48,000 for the Western Auto property and $129,000 for the former Sears building, 1509 Washington St.

In other matters the city board:

Heard a complaint of racism against the mayor, North Ward Alderman Gertrude Young and Police Chief Tommy Moffett from former candidate for mayor Eric Rawlings. Rawlings said the administration has targeted black police officers for disciplinary actions including firing, but offered no examples other than Leyens’ complaint about one speeding officer. Rawlings has also said he plans to run for mayor again in 2005.

Heard a complaint concerning the proposed Jefferson Davis mural from John Shorter who previously objected to the content of the mural. Shorter said that Davis represented oppression and should not be honored. Work on that mural and two others began last week.

Administered the oath of office to two police officer, Ron Kinard and Charles Melvin.

Received one bid for the 2004 street paving program.

Approved complimentary use of the City Auditorium by the Vicksburg Warren Memorial Day Committee.

Authorized the city clerk to advertise for bids for construction of new fire protection water main in the South Ward annexed area.

Accepted recommendations from the Zoning Board for amendments of the ordinances.

Contracted with Jimmy Gouras Urban Planning for consulting for the proposed golf course.

The city board will meet again at 11 a.m. Monday at City Annex.