Area commercial development beginning to see growth

Published 12:00 am Saturday, August 19, 2006

NATCHEZ &8212; Target isn&8217;t coming yet, but maybe.

Smoothie King and Pizza Hut are two of the newest commercial developments on Natchez highways, but they are just the beginning, developers say.

&8220;This is the first growth that Natchez has seen in 10 to 15 years,&8221; said Glen Green of Paul Green Real Estate.

Email newsletter signup

&8220;People are attracted to a nice atmosphere without all the bad things, which we have here. And before now nobody really seemed to know much about Natchez.&8221;

Green, who has begun commercial developments in the Natchez area, said improved roads coming into town and ongoing hurricane fears have more people coming this way.

Plans for the nearly 23-acre tract located alongside U.S. 61 South, just down from the Natchez Regional Medical Center, include locating four new businesses.

Smoothie King and a new Pizza Hut are already under construction and will be joined by the new Stine Lumber Co. and Delta Rentals.

&8220;We are building with confidence of the Natchez economy,&8221; Green said. &8220;Developers in the area are really sticking our necks out and hoping for growth.&8221;

Beechwood development, approximately 23 acres located on U.S 61 North across from Domino&8217;s Pizza, is under construction offering open lots for development, Green said. The lot will be ideal to house a strip mall or larger scale store, he said.

A new traffic light has already been approved to be placed at the entrance of the new development and will be a reality with the furthering progress.

&8220;The challenge in the bigger developments is putting that much land together,&8221; Green said.

A boom in the housing market means the town is prepped for commercial growth, said Sue Steadman of Prudential Steadman and Associates Realtors.

&8220;The number of people you have in town drives the amount of business,&8221; she said. &8220;Natchez is pretty much ready for some new development, particularly with respect to retail and hotels.&8221;

A convention center hotel on Canal Street is in the works, and an Arkansas developer has shown interest in building another downtown hotel.

&8220;Natchez has the table set for the growth, now we&8217;re just waiting for someone to come and sit down, Green said.