City leaders back hotel improvements - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

City leaders back hotel improvements

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Developer Joseph Simpson's vision of building a Westin hotel in Jackson is now one step closer to a reality. Developer Joseph Simpson's vision of building a Westin hotel in Jackson is now one step closer to a reality.
JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

Developer Joseph Simpson's vision of building a Westin hotel -- a $53 million project -- in downtown Jackson is now one step closer to a reality.

He secured one leg of the financing Tuesday when Jackson City Council members agreed to back a tax increment financing plan, which would pay developers for improvements they make to infrastructure.

"We've got to upgrade the utilities, sidewalks, landscaping here, a bunch of parking. We'll have a park right across from the federal court house that will be open to the public, wi-fi, really nice," Simpson said.

With 205 rooms, the Westin would be Mississippi's first five-star hotel.

"If you look in the southeast there's one in Memphis, one in Birmingham, one in new Orleans, a couple in Atlanta, that's what we're talking about being on level with," Simpson said.

The city has agreed to pay for up to $1.75 million worth of improvements to the area.  

Simpson's other downtown development project is progressing well, the $6 million refurbishment to the Iron Horse Grill. The 15,000-square-foot restaurant is slated to open near the end of the year and will feature live music and a museum on Mississippi's musical heritage.

A public hearing will be held on the financing plan for the hotel before council members vote for a final approval.

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