$40 million shopping center could be headed to small Mississippi community — largest retail development in decades, elected leaders say

Published 6:08 am Friday, February 9, 2024

Leaders in one Mississippi community are celebrating what could be the largest retail development in decades — a proposed $40 million development that could lead to the creation of 300 jobs.

According to The Natchez Democrat, the Mayor and Board of Aldermen voted to grant an option on purchasing 29.9 acres of city-owned property to Horne Properties, based in Knoxville, Tenn., a company that has developed more than 100 retail centers across the country. 

Horne will have the exclusive rights to purchase the property for one year to the property located next to Walmart on Seargent S. Prentiss Drive.

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After a brief executive session, the board voted unanimously for the option agreement. State laws allow governmental bodies to enter into closed session to discuss the sale of real estate.

“Horne Properties is a seasoned investment and development company with 42 years in business,” said Mayor Dan Gibson said. “Horne has developed 140 shopping centers in 28 states.”

Gibson said Horne plans to develop a $40 million retail facility in Natchez that will eventually lead to the creation of 300 jobs.

“It will be the most substantial retail development not only in Natchez but also Southwest Mississippi in several decades,” Gibson said.

He refused to discuss the property’s purchase price or what Horne is paying for the option on the real estate.

“The purchase of the option is how this begins. We are actively working with this developer,” he said.

Sue Stedman of Crye-Leike Stedman Ulmer Realty in Natchez represents the city’s interests in the transaction.

The property came to be owned by the city after a series of state and national transactions. It was originally the property of the Natchez Trace Parkway, said Kathleen Bond, the Natchez National Historical Park superintendent.

The Natchez National Historical Park, the Mississippi Department of Archives and History, and the city’s coffers will benefit from the sale of the property.

In 2013, federal legislation transferred the 29.9 acres of property to the ownership of the State of Mississippi. In 2015, state legislation transferred the property to the City of Natchez, stipulating that if ever sold, a third of the proceeds would be used to benefit the Historic Natchez Riverfront, a third would go to the National Parks Service for infrastructure and capital project within Adams County and a third would go to the Mississippi Department of Archives and History for use on infrastructure and capital projects within Adams County.

Doug Horne, president of Horne Properties, was not available at press time for comment. No information was provided at the meeting as to possible anchors for the planned Natchez retail development.