HRI Backs Out of Threefoot Project

Meridian city officials have confirmed within the past few minutes that HRI is backing out of its agreement to renovate the Threefoot Building.

A source told Newscenter 11 that the administration received an e-mail to that effect from HRI Tuesday afternoon.

City council president Bobby Smith appeared live on Newscenter 11 at 6 to talk about this latest development.

Smith said he got a phone call Tuesday about HRI's change of plans. He said he was told the company is backing out because Mayor Cheri Barry does not support the project.

"They will come back if we can get the mayor on board, if we can get the five council members on board, we will have Threefoot project. But until that time, the Threefoot project has failed. I hate to say that. It really bothers me that that happened," said Smith. "It was a money problem they said, you know, but now we have investors that have come up to the plate and going to invest to make this happen. And we still don't have the mayor's support."

At a recent meeting to talk about the Threefoot project, Barry said, "It's not that I'm against the project. It is the timing and the economics of our city."

Smith said he believes something could still happen in the future, if Barry changes her mind.

The council president said he doesn't know what will happen to the $1 million HRI has put up for the project. Smith said he would leave that to the lawyers to settle.

Meridian Mayor Cheri Barry Tuesday Evening released a statement in response to Bobby Smith's comments. It is posted below in full.

"I received an email from HRI stating that they were not moving forward
with the Threefoot Project at 5:30 this afternoon.

This is the right decision at this time. I have never been against the idea
of converting the Threefoot Building into a hotel. My objection has always
been to the financial structure of the project.

As stated in the letter, the City and HRI will look down the road for
future projects and possibly even resume the Threefoot Project under
different circumstances and different finances.

Once I received all of the information regarding the financing of the
Threefoot Project, I have never wavered in my position.

Two weeks ago the entire City Council was briefed by the City’s financial
consultants and bond attorneys. At which time all council members,
including Council president Bobby Smith, agreed that the project should not
move forward.

This is a time for the mayor to be fiscally responsible. After consulting
with the City’s financial consultants and bond attorneys, it was easy to
make the best decision for the citizens of Meridian."


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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by J.Y. Location: Meridian on Jan 5, 2010 at 12:55 AM
    Since when did our mayor have a degree in economics? Many of you have a very distorted grasp on facts. First of all, impressive developments bring people, and jobs. If we want to bring in the big dogs to invest in our city, we have to lay out bait. Every single city from Jackson, New York, Nashville, and Chicago use incentives such as this one with HRI. This is a terrible shame and HUGE loss. Hopefully Fortune 500 companies like the one that Anonymous One works for will come here even though thousands of other cities in America are providing them with financial "bait". However, they will not! In reality, big companies would rather build a office, new factory, or develop a building in a city who kisses their butt. Sad but true. Nobody wants to kiss butt. Yet, I would rather see our mayor kiss some butt and bring in developers and jobs!!!!! Not everyone is Meridian wants to be a police officer, or city employee.
  • by Anonymous One Location: Meridian - District 5 on Dec 28, 2009 at 03:35 PM
    Thanks Rick! No, I am not the mayor and no I am not a city employee. I work for a Fortune 500 company and handle accounts throughout North America. Unlike yourself, I have been outside east Mississippi. Unlike you, I have realistic ideals of how Meridian can prosper and grow. BB King, I agree is "A" level entertainment. I was wrong. But I stand by my statement on the others. We disagree. Grow up and understand that more people work on Sunday than you claim. Oh, and if the Threefoot was such a wonderful project, why hasn't some entrepreneur stepped in to do it? How about you my Deep Pockets? I forgot. You like using "taxpayers" as the footing for your projects, right? Really now, who is feeding off who? Happy New Year Rickie!
  • by Rick Location: Meridian, MS on Dec 27, 2009 at 02:06 PM
    Oh yeah, one more thing. BB King, Bela Fleck, Los Lobos, and Keb Mo are all "A Grade" entertainment. I have no idea what you listen to but you are clearly not qualified to comment on music quality. It appears as if you are a city employee who is obviously lazy and eager to suck the teet of the goverment payroll while you sit around and take all day lunch breaks during a road construction project. I know we have all seen that before!
  • by Rick Location: Meridian, MS on Dec 27, 2009 at 02:01 PM
    Anonymous one you are either the mayor, or another city employee who needs to be fired. It is clearly Sunday, NOTHING in the south is opened on Sunday besides Wal-Mart and maybe McDonalds you idiot. The bond debt issued by the city to assist HRI with that project would have been amortized well over a decade and would never have been realized by the taxpayers. This is a shame to see our city leaders run outsider investors out of our city. You are obviously too dumb to understand how real estate investment partnerships and incentives work, so i will not waste my time. Above all, we do not need to hire more city workers to take up space and feed off the city payroll. We need development.
  • by Anonymous One Location: Meridian - District 5 on Dec 26, 2009 at 10:24 PM
    I drove by the Threefoot today and once again could not envision a successful hotel operating there. Nothing downtown seemed open, traffic was light, and the distance between the building and the parking seems to be longer and longer the colder the weather gets. This property should have been brought down before the $35 million dollar investment was made in the Riley Performing Arts Center, which is a wonderful educational support tool but will never be on the "A" or "B" grade entertainment tour list for an entire season. Too close to to many better/larger sites. Bobby, fix our infrastructure, put more police on the streets and firemen in the fire houses, and get school resource officers in our schools and please stop playing architect with the Threefoot. It was bad money when the city bought it and its been bad money that's been spent since that time. Oh, and HRI, YOU withdrew from the project so MERIDIAN DOES NOT OWE YOU NOTHING BUT A WAVE. SEE YA CHE'!!
  • by Anonymous on Dec 24, 2009 at 05:11 PM
    oh brother eric open mouth and really look like a fool.. the building is dead been dead.. from the 30's as one that has done building and contract work yes if one can keep history unless like this then it has to be taken down.. for many reasons cost is a big factor.. second is health....
  • by Ferris Location: Meridian on Dec 24, 2009 at 12:52 PM
    Is it true that mayor Barry said she wants to tear down the Riley center now too?
  • by Eric Location: Meridian, MS on Dec 24, 2009 at 12:33 PM
    Yeah, history is insignificant. We might as well just tear down the pyramids in Egypt, the great wall of china, and everything else in the world that stands as a historical icon. progress is pointless too. Meridian only wants to vegetate in one point in time forever and slowly rot in its own feces. Why did I vote for this incompetent lady?
  • by Anonymous on Dec 24, 2009 at 09:05 AM
    I wish all the blinds mindless sheep from NAACP would stop the lies here about the mayor.. and it has been going on since day one.. when this fool for a leader opened mouth and shown the fool he is..
  • by Hal on Dec 24, 2009 at 08:41 AM
    Mr. Lala never wanted the Threefoot Building. His plan was to build a new hotel, new construction, in the downtown, close to the Riley Center. He is on the record saying he does not do renovations, but builds new facilities. Mr. Lala is too smart of a businessman to take on a money pit like the Threefoot.
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