Rainbow's Troubles, Fondren Data and Metrocenter Revival

City officials are making plans to fix Rainbow's flooding problem, but more complications have arisen.

City officials are making plans to fix Rainbow's flooding problem, but more complications have arisen. Photo by Trip Burns.

New Difficulties in Rainbow Flooding Issue

Fondren's Rainbow Co-op (2807 Old Canton Road) has been dealing with flooding issues since 2001. To make matters worse, a pipe burst beneath the store's neighbor, Montgomery Hardware, in February. When Rainbow employees called about the pipe, at the time, city officials said that the city's responsibility ends at the street, leaving Rainbow to hire a company to dig up the ruptured pipe and install a stop valve in between the rupture and the street before the city would turn Rainbow's water back on.

A dispute between the city and Montgomery Hardware's out-of-state owner on responsibility for the pipe meant no permanent action to fix the pipe was taken for some time.

Now, city officials are making plans to fix Rainbow's flooding problem, but more complications have arisen. Plans to fix the broken pipeline have been cut off from a recent Fondren enhancement grant, which means the city itself would have to fund the repairs. However, officials are not sure it will be possible, as the city would need to collect easements—which refers to non-possessory rights of use and/or entry onto the real property of another without possessing it—from other businesses that would be affected by the resulting construction. According to a Rainbow employee, the state Department of Public Works informed Rainbow last week that there "may be about a 50 percent chance of getting the needed funding."

Venyu Solutions Brings Data Center to Fondren

Last month, Baton Rouge-based Venyu Solutions—which specializes in the redundancy and protection of data for major corporations—closed on the former McRae's building in north Fondren. The company plans to convert the 100,000-square-foot building into a data storage and cloud-based data center and technology park. Venyu expects the new center to create between 30 and 40 new jobs when it opens in 2015.

No time frame has been set for the building's conversion, which represents a $35 million investment on Venyu's part. The new center, located along the 300 block of Meadowbrook Road, will join two centers in Baton Rouge and one in Shreveport.

Venyu chose Jackson for the new center's location, in part, for the potential for business growth from metro Jackson companies needing off-site data storage. Venyu provides data and cloud storage as well as data backup and recovery services, all of which require a substantial investment in servers and other equipment.

Plans in Place to Revitalize Metrocenter

Scott Overby, property manager at Metrocenter Mall, has plans to bring a new business into the old Dillard's building at the mall, and hopes more traffic will come to Metrocenter as a result.

Zoning regulations on the Highway 80 corridor prevent certain viable business options from setting up in the building, such as a movie theater, skating rink or bowling alley. However, Overby believes it may be possible to bring in government, health care and education offices. Mall officials are also exploring the possibility of having junior colleges and state universities or Jackson Public Schools use the space. Another option is teaming up with hospitals in the area or bringing in county, state, or federal government offices.

Currently, 60 stores and some Jackson city offices operate inside Metrocenter.


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