Meridian sees continued investment, growth | Local News

Meridian sees continued investment, growth | Local News

Meridian sees continued investment, growth

photos by Thomas Howard / The Meridian Star

Construction of a new Zaxby’s location is underway near the Meridian Crossroads shopping center. The restaurant plans to be open around the first of the year.

Opportunities are all around as multiple new industries look to settle in the Queen City.

Community Development Director Craig Hitt on Tuesday said several new businesses are working to establish themselves in the Meridian area, including a new athletic facility.

“We have an indoor athletic facility that will be opening probably by the first of November,” he said. “The owners are telling us they’re in their final stages.”

The new facility, Hitt said, would be geared toward baseball and softball players with pitching machines, batting cages and more.

Meridian is also welcoming a shoe assembly plant that is under construction, he said, a company looking to build a facility on South Frontage Road, a planned expansion by Parish Tractor along Jimmie Rodgers Parkway, a new restaurant on North Hills and more.

Additionally, Hitt said, three cannabis growing facilities and eight dispensaries are under construction in the Queen City.

“All of those facilities are at work, with construction going on,” he said.

The new businesses join a growing list of investments Meridian has welcomed this year. In April, Gov. Tate Reeves joined city and county officials to unveil a $25 million expansion at Southern Pipe and Supply, and more than a hundred shoppers lined up in September for the grand opening of ALDI.

Meridian has also seen its offering of dinner choices expand with construction underway for a new Zaxby’s, Bakery 900 opening its doors, Starbucks setting up shop in the Threefoot Hotel and more.

Mayor Jimmie Smith said Meridian is full of opportunity and these new businesses have seen that and are working to get on board.

“I think the opportunity for our community is great, and I think that people are looking at our community as a place that they want to place their facilities and their businesses,” he said.

Meridian is a different place than it was in years past, Smith said, and businesses are taking note of what the new Queen City has to offer.

“I really do believe that our community is so much more different than any other time,” he said. “That’s one of the reasons that we are growing in businesses and opportunities. I think people see us as an opportunity.’

As new businesses are welcomed to Meridian, the residential side is also seeing a lot of growth, Hitt said. Community Development personnel, he said, have commented on the large influx of new housing going up.

“According to personnel in our office right now, we’ve got more housing starts in the City of Meridian than we’ve had in a number of years,” he said.

Meridian sees continued investment, growth

The grocery retailer ALDI opened its first Meridian location in September as part of a planned nationwide expansion. The expansion called for 150 new stores with 20 locations planned for the Southeast states.

Hitt said his office had been involved with plans for several new subdivisions in recent weeks in addition to individual homes being built. The rise in new housing is especially notable when considering how the cost of building materials has gone up and interest rates have climbed along with them.

“There’s a lot of interest in residential growth as well,” he said.

The City of Meridian is not alone in seeing new investments look to move into the area. The Lauderdale County Board of Supervisors has seen substantial interest in several parcels of land it owns off of 22nd Avenue near the under-construction courthouse complex.

Board President Jonathan Wells said a feasibility study is being done on the property, and the board is in the process of putting out a request for proposals. The board of supervisors, he said, hopes the new courthouse complex and sheriff’s department, along with the ongoing Sela Ward Parkway revitalization project, will encourage development and spark a larger revitalization of businesses along the 22nd Avenue corridor.

“Ten, 15, 20 years from now, we don’t want people saying, ‘they could have done that better,’” he said. “We just want to do our due diligence.”

Wells said county supervisors have also noticed new homes being built in Bailey, Marion and other locations throughout the county, and he was curious to see if the hike in building continues on after the influx of federal pandemic funds dries up.

“We had a big flood of money coming in, so I think we’re seeing, even though things have gone up, people have had some extra money. So we’re seeing those new houses being built,” he said.

One of the drivers of new investments in Meridian could be the number of activities and events going on downtown, Hitt said. It may be difficult for some residents to see, but there is a lot to do in Meridian, he said.

“One of the things that we may locally over look because we’ve gotten used to it, but others are recognizing is all the activity we have going on downtown,” he said.

Hitt said two concerts on October 7 filled up both the Temple Theatre and the MSU Riley Center in addition to all the people attending Friday night football games. Outsiders see all the events and activities Meridian has to offer, he said, and it brings them into town.

“I think outsiders are seeing that and are coming and participating in these things and seeing something that they want to be a part of,” he said.

While concerts and festivals offer abundant opportunities for families, Meridian is also becoming a destination for conferences. In recent weeks the city has hosted the Mississippi Municipal Clerks and Collectors Association’s fall conference as well as a meeting of the Mississippi Association of Realtors.

In a Council of Governments meeting Monday, Lauderdale County Tourism Director Dede Mogollon told city and county officials several other trade associations and interest groups were eyeing the Queen City to host their events as well.

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *