° empty

Prospect leases port land

NATCHEZ — A $37 million industrial development project has signed a contract to lease a small tract of land at the Natchez-Adams County Port, Natchez Inc. Executive Director Chandler Russ said Monday night.

Russ told members of Natchez Now LLC at the group’s quarterly membership meeting that the property was a portion of a larger project.

Natchez Now is the private sector funding group that, along with Adams County and the City of Natchez, funds Natchez Inc. — the public-private partnership that leads economic development for the area.

The details of the project, Russ said, would be announced in April.

Adams County owns the approximately five-acre plot along L.E. Barry Road, Russ said. The lease contract contains “a ton of claw-back provisions,” he said.

Such claw-back provisions generally allow an industrial lease to be nullified by the landowner if the entity leasing the property does not fulfill its obligations.

Russ also said Natchez Inc. is working on several other economic prospects.

“We are currently working with 13 active clients, representing approximately $2 billion in potential investment,” Russ said. “Of those, 10 are port-related.

“These are not tire-kickers. They represent serious money.”

Russ said city and county leaders — public and private — need to be thinking about how to keep land along the river accessible to industrial prospects.

“Long-term, this group, our group, county, city, everybody involved. We’ve got to figure out how to continue to make property available and accessible to business clients on this river,” he said.