JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – The future of the Metrocenter Mall in Jackson remains unclear after the Jackson City Council voted to terminate their lease. The decision follows city workers’ complaints about the facility’s poor conditions, inside and out.
The councilmembers voted to terminate the lease agreement with Retro Metro, LLC, citing potholes, debris and other damages at the mall.
Retro Metro officials argued the city is partially responsible.
Attorneys sent a letter to the city in May 2023, citing the lease that reportedly said, “The tenant shall keep the premises in good, clean and habitable condition and shall at its sole cost and expense.”
Owners said they have contributed millions in personal funds for building repairs.
“We’re $2.5 million into it personally trying to keep this thing alive. I believe in the pride and the dignity of all the employees, and I don’t want to see them work in these conditions,” said Socrates Garrett, with Retro Metro.
Jackson Police Precinct 2, the Department of Human and Cultural Services, Department of Parks and Recreation and the City of Jackson Employee Clinic operates at Metrocenter Mall.
In a letter sent to the city, attorneys for Retro Metro said if the city vacates the mall, it will be a default. They said the city would still be required to pay rent for the remainder of the lease.
Jackson City Council President Aaron Banks, Ward 6, said he wants to avoid potential litigation and another vacant building.
“We have a lot of abandoned property in West and South Jackson already. This is the only thing that keeps traffic at the Metrocenter. I would think at this point we should find an amenable way to work with Retro Metro, especially since the city has spent so much money in leasing, and it’s supposed to turn over into ownership for us at some point,” Banks stated.
JXN Water already moved out of the mall. With the future of the Metrocenter still up in the air, Councilman Kenneth Stokes, Ward 3, suggested another old mall for hosting those city departments.
“My position is, let’s move them to the Medical Mall. I suggested JXN Water to bring the building where they can pay bills at the Jackson Medical Mall. I think it’s centrally located. I think it’s a safe place. I think that would be the perfect location for people to be able to do business with the City of Jackson,” Stokes stated.
WJTV 12 News reached out to Garret and Leroy Walker, two Retro Metro executives, for more details about the reported $2 million spent on the Metrocenter Mall repairs. They initially declined to comment.
On Wednesday, Walker sent WJTV 12 News the information about the investments that were made by Retro Metro.
WJTV 12 News is also working to obtain the full lease agreement between the city and Retro Metro.