Bright Lights, MCITy: Vicksburg-Warren Chamber of Commerce begins move to new offices

Published 5:26 pm Friday, February 4, 2022

Friday was moving day for the Vicksburg-Warren Chamber of Commerce as chamber officials began the relocation from its building on Mission 66 to the old Mississippi Hardware building, now known as the Mississippi Center for Information and Technology, or MCITy.

The chamber is the building’s first tenant. ERDCWERX, a partner agency of the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center, which will support ERDC’s tech transfer goals and programs, and the Warren County Port Commission are also expected to move into the building.

“It’s wonderful the way they’ve redone the building,” chamber accounts and office administrator Kimberly Hillman said. “This building has been here a long time; I think it’s wonderful what they did to the building instead of tearing it down.”

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Pablo Diaz, Vicksburg Warren Economic Development Partnership President and CEO, said the new location “gives us more office space, but in the same square feet (as the former site). “It’s much better organized; much better laid out.”

The MCITy project was part of the vision by the late Sen. Thad Cochran for Mississippi as a state to fully capitalize on tech transfer and federal contracting opportunities to create high-paying jobs and benefit small and medium-sized companies.

The concept for MCITy was presented in August 2017 at a meeting of the Vicksburg Board of Mayor and Aldermen.

At that time, a group of developers who purchased the old Mississippi Hardware building on Washington Street unveiled plans for a $19 million project to convert the former garment factory and hardware building into a multi-floor innovation and tech transfer center to serve the Vicksburg area and the Central Mississippi region.

When MCITy was first proposed, it was seen as a project to promote the development of new technology for different markets, technology transfer and entrepreneurship by providing a source to help people start their own companies and compete for contracts with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers or the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center.

Renovations to the Mississippi Hardware Building began in 2019. A ceremony in February 2020 dedicated the building and renamed the facility in honor of Cochran.

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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