TUPELO • The city's effort to redevelop West Jackson Street will receive another boost when construction of a new pocket neighborhood gets underway soon.
By next spring, barring any major delays, The Cottages on Jackson West will have as many as nine single-family homes available.
The Neighborhood Development Corporation tapped developer and Realtor Blake Trehern with RE/MAX Elite Realtors in Tupelo to develop and market the 2-acre site between Clayton and Joyner avenues.
"It’s been the largest plot the NDC has had," said Ellen Short, who serves on the committee.
The West Jackson Street Redevelopment Project is a city-backed initiative to revitalize the corridor between Clayton and Joyner avenues. The main concept behind the project is to eliminate the proliferation of blighted rental properties in that area to create affordable, single-family housing.
The City Council in 2013 approved $2.9 million in city funds for the project, and the nonprofit NDC was assigned responsibility for its development.
"We started on Ingram Drive and developed that, then Cicada Cove followed," Short said. "So we had this one more area that I think was the prettiest with all the trees, and it was located nicely about the middle of the block."
The goal of this redevelopment initiative has been the creation of small “pocket neighborhoods” composed of owner-occupied residences. The NDC organization has purchased 27 homes, six empty lots and has demolished 20 homes.
Short said the NDC had been approached by others about developing the lot, but nothing solid emerged until Trehern offered a proposal.
"He worked with us, and we worked and worked a lot, so that everything fit the idea of the neighborhood," she said. "We wanted to keep the amenities of the Joyner area with the same general look with porches on the front. We did some drawings and went back and forth for a bit, and we're all very thrilled with it."
Trehern said The Cottages of Jackson West will comprise nine deep lots with backyards, and they'll be priced accordingly, in the upper part of the $200,000 range.
"These will differ in size from the other lots on Ingram and Cicada," he said. "We're going to start going from east to west on the lots. We have two floor plans with alternate exteriors that have been custom-drawn by Scott Emison of Prairie South Design in Tupelo.
"These homes will attract a different clientele than those on Ingram and Cicada because these have back yards, large entertainment spaces, so we feel like we'll have more of a community feel."
The homes are larger, averaging about 2,200 square feet, with front porches and designer finishes. The homes on Ingram and Cicada average around 1,500 square feet.
"They'll have downstairs master bedroom and guest bedroom and they all have an upstairs bonus and third bedroom over the garage," Trehern said.
A feature of The Cottages includes a frontage lane and landscape barrier that runs parallel alongside West Jackson to access the homes. The lot has several large trees, some of which will have to come down, but Trehern said they would try to preserve as many as possible.
The city has 75 days to complete the infrastructure, and Trehern said the first houses should be ready in five to six months.
“It’s an exciting opportunity to help further the city’s efforts to turn what was once a blighted area into a unique development where people look forward to coming home," Trehern said. "The Joyner community has so many great things to offer, like the park and splash pad. This development is going to complement that and further the efforts that so many city leaders have worked for ... Those efforts have spurred growth in Joyner, and this is the final phase in that push."
Short said the prices of the home are in a salable range for the area.
"There's very much interest in it," she said. "I think it will do well."