Condo developer dropping project on Washington, Mulberry Streets

Published 4:31 pm Thursday, January 6, 2022

Two proposed condominium developments in the downtown district have been scratched by the developer.

Jimmy Gouras, acting as a spokesman for Steve Bryan, manager of Ridgeland-based Mid-South Companies LLC, said Wednesday the planned developments for Washington Street Park and on Mulberry Street next to the Vicksburg Convention Center will not be built.

The announcement comes about five weeks after the Vicksburg Board of Mayor and Aldermen gave the company a one-year extension through Dec. 31, 2022, to acquire the properties.

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Mayor George Flaggs declined to comment on Mid-South’s decision because he said he did not have a written notice that the company was dropping the project.

“I don’t want to comment until I have something in writing,” he said.

According to Gouras, Bryan intends to let the extension expire, citing a provision that Mid-South begins work within 30 days after getting title to the property. The provision, Gouras said, “was unworkable.”

The board in February approved a resolution declaring the Washington Street Park property and the property adjacent to the Vicksburg Convention Center as surplus property and set a closing date of 30 to 45 days later. In August, it granted an extension on the closing until January 2022.

At the time, MidSouth indicated it was considering a $10 million to $11 million investment to build condominiums on the two pieces of property in Vicksburg’s downtown district. The buildings would bring in an estimated $157,000 annually in property taxes, as well as an estimated $5 million in payroll, construction material purchases and sales tax.

On Oct. 15, Bryan sent a letter to the city seeking an extension to Dec. 31, 2022.

In the letter, Bryan wrote he had so far spent about $400,000 on both projects. He said he did not want to discontinue the projects, “but I do not want to commence projects in a climate that makes it impossible to complete them in a manner that makes sense for the city, its citizens and me at the level of quality that you rightfully expect and that I demand of myself.”

He wanted more time “to see if the supply side stabilizes and the projects again become feasible,” adding, “termination at this stage does not seem to be in the best interest of any parties.”

If the city agreed to the extension, Bryan said, “It will provide the opportunity to see if we can still make the fruits of all our collective efforts a reality for the benefit of downtown Vicksburg.”

On Dec. 14, the board held an executive session with Bryan and Gouras to discuss the extension and the provisions of the new agreement, which the board approved. Several days later, Gouras said, Bryan’s attorney received the agreement, which extended it for a year but required Mid-South to begin construction within 30 days after the property was deeded to Mid-South.

The 30-day provision, he said, “Didn’t give Steve time to do any pre-selling, put his financing together; it just was unworkable. He decided rather than go back and forth with the city, he just decided not to go forward.”

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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