JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – Before malls, interstates, and suburbs, Downtown Jackson was the center of the universe. It’s where people worked, shopped, and did pretty much everything but live. However, that trend is reversing. People are moving downtown to live there. Not in new houses, but in old buildings.
There are several old hotels and office buildings already converted into residences in downtown Jackson. More additions include the old Edison Walthall Hotel and the old downtown Post Office and Federal Court House next door.
Scott Sledge with Certified Hospitality Management took me on a tour. There are a few rules you have to observe when you restore old buildings on the National Register. The main one, you can’t change the exterior appearance, like the rooms around the pool area at the Walthall. Still looks like it did “in the day” outside, but functions like today on the inside.
Next door in the old Courthouse and Post Office, the courtroom is a work out room, and the post office mail room has been cleared to make a food court.
One pleasant surprise Sledge has had is the clientele. He expected more or less the hip youngster set who would enjoy downtown living, but he has leased apartments to a lot of professionals, attorneys and such, who have offices downtown who would rather walk to work and skip the traffic.
Will this change the complexion downtown? Perhaps. With the vacuum left by the evacuation of commerce filling up with people seeking the peace and quiet of the inner city that the outer city no longer offers.