Natchez seeks restaurant for depot

Published 12:06 am Sunday, November 18, 2018

NATCHEZ — The City of Natchez could see a food and beverage establishment in the former Yazoo and Mississippi Valley Railroad Depot on Broadway Street by September.

At a special-called meeting Thursday, aldermen unanimously approved a request for proposals from tenants wishing to lease the depot building. All board members were present.

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The RFP has a proposal deadline of 5 p.m. March 1 and a series of deadlines that would require a tenant to be open for business by Sept. 28.

Chesney Doyle, chair of Mayor Darryl Grennell’s Depot Committee, said the timeline presented in the RFP gives a tenant time to meet the historic requirements that come with the building.

The city’s RFP specifically recommends that applicants provide plans for a venue that would carry extended hours to make it a spot for morning coffee, dining and late-night drinks.

Ward 3 Alderwoman Sarah Carter-Smith said she believes a café-style venue could be a nice bookend for the city’s entertainment district that is outlined in a master plan recently adopted for downtown Natchez.

“It’s the center of the bluff and already a hub of activity,” Carter-Smith said. “Hopefully it will become a draw and bring more recreation to the downtown area.”

The biggest change made to the RFP since Tuesday’s aldermen meeting was decreasing the required lease from as much as 10 years to as little as three years.

Also at Thursday’s meeting, the board met in executive session to discuss personnel in the city clerk’s office and potential litigation with the county and the city’s health care provider. City Attorney Robert Latham said no action was taken.