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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