New condos coming to Main Street

Published 12:11 am Saturday, June 28, 2008

NATCHEZ — Though the former First Baptist Church on Main Street got clearance to be developed into condos in February, it stands undisturbed — not for long.

Judy Weatherly, developer with Dream Homes, Inc, in Marrero, said construction work should begin as soon as the fall or winter.

She said several things have served as an impediment to starting construction.

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First of all, she’s using “green” material, which are recycled materials.

“I used products that have been used before,” Weatherly said.

This includes steel and Styrofoam for the infrastructure, she said.

“The steel is recycled from old steel and the Styrofoam is environmentally friendly,” she said.

Because of the use of these products, the ordering process is longer, she said.

Also, she said she’s been working on a lot of projects in New Orleans, which is keeping her tied up.

“I’m rebuilding quite a bit of New Orleans right now,” she said. “I’ve rebuilt probably 75 of them since the storm.”

She’s trying to get to a stopping point now because she’s ready to tackle the First Baptist Church project, she said.

The plans are already done, however, save for the actual condominiums.

For the whole building, though, they are ready, she said.

This includes redoing the decrepit roof and starting the courtyard that will sit in the middle of the building.

The 18 condo spaces are planned out, but what the actual condos will look like is up to those who purchase them.

“I’ll be preparing the spaces for the building,” she said.

But buyers can come in and dictate how many rooms or bathrooms they want, Weatherly said.

“It’s an individual thing,” she said.

She said she has no doubt the condos will sell, and sell fast.

“I believe they’ll all be sold in the next year and a half or so,” Weatherly said.

She said once construction begins, it’ll take about 18 months to complete the $2 million project.

“I’ve done all the hard parts, the things that take the longest, the preservation approval and all that,” Weatherly said.

Several stories tall, with its own parking to be included, the development not only boasts a courtyard, it will also have stained glass windows.

Weatherly called the future development “absolutely gorgeous.”

“It’s going to be a landmark

In February, the developers were removing stained glass windows from the exterior of the building sans approval by the Natchez Preservation Commission.

A stop work order was issued and Weatherly came before the commission to get approval to do any work on the building.

The development was approved but if work isn’t begun on the building in the next six months, the approval will expire and Weatherly will have to appear before the commission once more, according to the Natchez Preservation Ordinance.