Huge retail development could take national brands closer to shoppers in this Mississippi region

Published 9:19 pm Saturday, February 17, 2024

Hobby Lobby, TJ Maxx, Pet Smart, Five Below.

These are some of the retailers who could be coming to a Mississippi city as part of a prospective $40 million development.

Doug Horne, president of Horne Properties, said he said he is excited about the prospects of developing a retail shopping complex in Natchez. Horne has been in business for 42 years and has completed more than 140 commercial development projects in more than 21 states.

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“As I told the mayor, we can’t reveal who the tenants will be because we don’t have the deals made yet, but we are in discussions with Hobby Lobby, TJ Max and Home Goods, PetsSmart and Five Below,” he said.

Horne also said his company has begun conversations with representatives of grocery retailer Aldi, as well.

“We are talking with Aldi. They would really like to be in Vicksburg and Natchez, but I don’t know if Aldi would go to Natchez without going to Vicksburg also,” he said.

The city’s board of aldermen recently granted Horne Properties a one-year option on the purchase of 29.9 acres of city-owned property next to Walmart near the intersection of D’Evereux and Seargent S. Prentiss drives.

At the time, Natchez Mayor Dan Gibson said the potential retail development could eventually lead to 300 jobs.

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

Lots of work must take place before the retail complex becomes a reality.

“It’s going to take a while. We’ve got to get access worked out with MDOT on D’Evereux and Seargent Prentiss. We need to come in as the same access point that Walmart has. We’ve got to work with MDOT on both streets and we’ve got to get all of the deal together,” Horne said.

The option granted to Horne property was for one year.

“We have the financing lined up. The problem right now with these tenants is the cost per square foot. We have to have a better rent deal for them. The cost of construction per square foot has gone up significantly,” he said.

Horne, president of Horne Properties, is no stranger to Natchez.

Horne, who lives in a small community near Knoxville, Tennessee, where his company is based, once owned the historic home Richland. He and his wife, Brenda, own Springfield Plantation, the historic home in Church Hill.

“Springfield is where Andrew Jackson was married to Rachel Donelson in 1791,” Horne said. “My wife and I renovated the home after we purchased it and we are having the Horne Family Reunion there in July. The house was in pretty bad shape when we bought it.”