Public hearing tonight gives glimpse of downtown project

n A North Carolina group wants to turn the J.J. Rogers building into apartments.

BY EMILY LE COZ

Daily Journal

TUPELO – Citizens curious about plans to convert downtown’s J.J. Rogers building into affordable apartments can see the project up close and comment on the effort at a public hearing tonight.

The hearing starts at 6 p.m. and is expected to last about one hour. It will be held in the parish hall at All Saints’ Episcopal Church on the corner of Jefferson and Madison streets.

“We’ll have a PowerPoint presentation, we’ll present full plans on poster boards where everybody can walk up and touch them,” said Rex Todd of Todd Development, a North Carolina firm affiliated with The Landmark Group, also of North Carolina, which has proposed the $9.4 million project.

To pursue the project, however, the firm must hold a public hearing to qualify for tax credits from the Mississippi Home Corp. Those credits, along with federal Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credits, will help fund the mammoth project.

All of that will be explained at the public meeting, Todd said. And participants will have an opportunity to ask questions and make comments about the project.

The firm must submit its application to the Home Corp. by March 7.

News of its plans first emerged Jan. 8 when the company requested, and received, a zoning change for the J.J. Rogers property from the city Planning Committee. The change was confirmed Feb. 5 by the City Council.

If financing comes through, work on the old Elliott Street cotton mill could start within a year. It will be converted into 62-72 apartments marketed to “working families” who meet income, credit and character guidelines.

The final product will be called Tupelo Cotton Mill Lofts. It will include one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments with a maximum two people per bedroom allowed, and only five total for a three-bedroom unit.

The Landmark Group also will be the property managers and will have staffing on site around the clock.

J.J. Rogers & Sons wholesalers has owned the building since the 1940s but will vacate the property in March after a merger with Long Wholesale Distributors of Corinth.

Owners Britt and Jameson Rogers have said they support the conversion plans.

Contact Daily Journal city
reporter Emily Le Coz at 678-1588
or emily.lecoz@djournal.com.