The Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) announced on Thursday the approval of a grant in the amount of $150,000 to the City of Houston for renovations to an industrial building on the old Shannon Chair Company Campus. The city bought the campus and leases it to businesses for industrial and warehousing purposes. The project area consists of two large, open areas totaling approximately 63,000 sq. ft. and can accommodate several businesses.

The preliminary ARC grant was written and pursued by the Chickasaw Development Foundation (CDF) in Houston.

“We’re very grateful to Mike Armour and the ARC, Three Rivers and Congressman Trent Kelly’s office for helping us to secure this grant,” says Sean Johnson, the Executive Director of CDF.

Johnson says that the building in its current state has been essentially unusable, but the new renovations will make the city-owned property a more attractive industrial site. Indeed, Johnson reports that several companies have already inquired about renting the space once it becomes available.

“The original thought was to purpose the building as an incubator for small manufacturing concerns, but we’ve been contacted by several people who are anxious to lease it as distribution/warehousing space. While I like the idea of having an incubator space, warehousing space is more straightforward and will have an immediate financial return for the city.”

In addition to the ARC grant the city has acquired $120,000 in state funding and will invest $37,500 into the improvements as well, bringing the total project funding to $307,500.

The renovations will include a new roof, fascia replacement, safety railings, bay doors, general repairs, clean up and removal, and some plumbing and electrical work.

Mayor Stacey Parker, who pursued the state funding through the Small Municipal and Limited Population Grant through the Mississippi Development Authority says, “These improvements will increase the attractiveness of the site for future development and facilitate economic development and private investment. We’re very grateful to the MDS, Three Rivers, Governor Phil Bryant and all involved who have helped make this happen.”

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