Park Avenue owners asking for part of property to be annexed into the city

Published 7:56 pm Saturday, June 9, 2018

The developer of the proposed Park Avenue condominiums at 780 U.S. 61 North wants the city to annex a section of the development that is in Warren County.

The Vicksburg city limits cut through the property, which is the site of the former Whispering Woods apartment complex, putting four of the complex’s buildings in the county. 

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According to a request signed by Greg Nickel, owner of Beverly Hills, California-based Rockwell Building and Design, which is converting the site into a condominium development, having the entire property in the city limits “will best serve the public, because it will enable the individual property owners all access to a singular health, safety and emergency services providers.

“This makes sense both economically and logistically for the residents, and will best serve their needs and interests.”

Nickel added in the request that work is underway on the project, which community development director Victor Grey-Lewis said will be a multi-phase project.

City attorney Nancy Thomas said the city has most of the paperwork ready to move forward with the annexation.

“This (letter) will prepare us to get our ordinance for annexation ready; they (Rockwell) have done that and we have to review it and get the legal descriptions ready,” she said.

“Good news for the city of Vicksburg,” Mayor George Flaggs Jr. said.

According to a March press release on Park Avenue, the project will convert the present one, two and three-bedroom units, and include new construction to provide a total of 156 units. It will also include tennis courts and a private indoor movie theatre.

Rockwell and World Trade & Exchange Holdings of New York in August acquired the property from Eddie Grosse, owner of Whispering Woods LLC, the Delaware-based company with offices in Florida, and the parent company that owned the property.

Whispering Woods LLC acquired what was then called the Confederate Ridge Apartments in September 2013 and began making changes to improve the apartment complex, which at the time had a reputation for drug and criminal activity.

But the property again fell into disrepair, and residents complained about problems with mold and leaks.

City officials in early 2016 condemned the Whispering Woods apartment complex after the apartment owners failed to pay its water bill, and Entergy later cut off electrical service after the complex was condemned.

A fire in February 2016 destroyed a building, as did subsequent fires in March and May of that year. A fire in November 2016 heavily damaged a building.When city and county firefighters arrived at the May 4 blaze, they found it fully involved and used what water they had to save two adjoining buildings.

In December 2016, the property was put under the city’s slum clearance ordinance, and the owners had to prepare a plan to either demolish or rehabilitate the apartment complex. Two plans to rehabilitate the property were presented by the company to the city, but both were rejected because they did not provide cost estimates, a construction schedule or proof of financing for the project.

In June 2017, two months before the property was sold, it was advertised on the commercial real estate website,, for $1.2 million.

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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