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JRA Head Blames Mayor For Performa...

JRA Head Blames Mayor For Performa Problems

By: Magnolia Tribune - June 12, 2008

JRA Head Blames Mayor For Performa Problems

On Tuesday, the mayor said he was disbanding the JRA and firing Performa, even though he doesn’t have the power to do either.

JRA president Brent Alexander said the city is hindering Peforma, the company hired to redevelop Farish Street.

Only JRA can fire Performa, and although the mayor can nominate new members to the JRA board, it’s up to City Council to approve the changes.

Alexander said the city spent about $1.5 million to improve the streets in the Farish Street area and to get the water and sewer in place for Performa to start work on the project. But Alexander said he’s heard the work still needs tweaking to be up to Performa’s standards.

Alexander said Melton’s criticism of Performa was making it hard for the developer to get construction loans to renovate these buildings.

”If the city was doing everything it should and Performa still wasn’t performing, I would jerk their contract in a second,” Alexander said.

David Watkins is the developer behind the King Edward Hotel. He said it took him six years to get the financing in place for his project.

“I can understand why the developer would be very frustrated and maybe even upset about where he is,” Watkins said.

The Farish Street project is about two years behind schedule.

The first phase — which was to include a daiquiri bar, blues club and comedy club — was originally slated to open in 2006.

On Tuesday, Melton announced he had recruited a mediator to act as a go-between between the city and Performa.

If the city council approves the mayor’s plan, former mayor Dale Danks will work with the groups for the price of $1.


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