LD’s may be saved from wrecking ball|[3/25/06]

Published 12:00 am Monday, March 27, 2006

A downtown restaurant set to be razed as part of the city’s ongoing urban renewal of historic downtown could be saved by one of two buyers, Mayor Laurence Leyens said Friday.

At its regular meeting, the Board of Mayor and Aldermen extended its lease with Larry Prentiss on LD’s Kitchen, 1111 Mulberry St., after Prentiss and another potential buyer, whom Leyens did not identify, have submitted bids to buy the building.

Leyens had predicted in February the building, formerly a liquor store and bar, would be &#8220demolished very quickly” and turned into &#8220a garden parking lot.”

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The property is on the east side of Mulberry Street, just west of the Yazoo Diversion Canal, near where the city has focused much of its five-year, $17.5 million downtown restoration effort, including the Art Park at Catfish Row, murals along the floodwall and a proposed U.S. Army Corps of Engineers museum just west of the art park. Separately, a railroad museum has been planned for the Yazoo & Mississippi Valley Depot building, just north of the art park. The city purchased the property for $84,448 from owner Lucy Harrell.

The board’s motion – passed in a 2-0 vote by Leyens and North Ward Alderman Michael Mayfield – extended Prentiss’ lease to April 30. At its Feb. 16 meeting, the board gave Prentiss one month to move his business, and the former interim Ward 2 supervisor responded by buying the former KFC building at 2600 Halls Ferry Road from Hannon Food Service. That building is slated to become a second Cajun and soul food restaurant, Prentiss said.

&#8220There’s quite a bit of repairs and fixing up I want to do if the city will let me,” said Prentiss, who has operated LD’s Kitchen on Mulberry for 11 years and said he has plans to put thousands of dollars into painting, replacing the roof and making other improvements. &#8220I hope they take into consideration that I’m already there” when considering the bids, he said.

In other business, the board: