Support of the proposed Building

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Please provide comments in support of the proposed building. Read and post comments by clicking on "comments" below.

Send an email to the Mayor and Aldermen!

Send an email to the Planning and Zoning Board!

Let the local news reporters know that you support the proposed building!

Write a letter to the editor:
Clarion Ledger
Madison County Journal
Madison County Herald
Northside Sun


Anonymous said...

Having already made the commitment to develop a portion of the Renaissance area commercially, as a Ridgeland resident, I would much rather see a nicely built structure with distinguished tenants such as the proposed Butler Snow building than any likely alternative. If the numbers I've heard are true, the building will add something like $60 million to Ridgeland's property tax base, which means better schools, better roads, etc. Plus, it's being built just adjacent to the interstate, not adjacent to a subdivision . I think our leaders should support it.

Ann said...

As a business and property owner in Ridgeland, I support the building. It would be a blessing to have the nicest building in the state located in our city.

Thanks for your consideration.


Susan said...

When asked if would support this Special Exception, we wanted to know all the information.

We fully support this Special Exception and truly hope that you will support it as well.

The economics of it alone are fabulous. Property Values would continue to escalate. This is truly a win-win situation for the citizens of Ridgeland.
Please make every effort and whatever concessions are needed to make sure this special project is completed.


SB said...

I am writing in regards to the controversy that seems to be surrounding the development at Renaissance. My husband and I have lived in Ridgeland for the past 13 years. My husband is a life long resident. We have a son who graduated from Ridgeland High and a daughter who currently attends Highland Elem. So, this letter is being written to you as a concerned resident of the city of Ridgeland.

We had the opportunity a few years ago to sell the house that we had always lived in and move elsewhere. We thought long and hard on our decision. We considered Rankin County and Madison but when it came down to it, we decided to stay in Ridgeland. Reason being that everything we needed was here in the city of Ridgeland.

We have seen the area grow a lot in these past few years and it gives us the feel of “Big City” living in a small town atmosphere. You will not find that in Rankin County or even in the city of Madison. Our elected officials and appointed Boards have always had the best interest of the city of Ridgeland and its residents in mind when it comes to changes. So I am a little taken a back at the lack of enthusiasm from our Zoning Board to grant the variance for the building that is needed to bring Butler Snow and Horne to our town.

These are prime businesses that are locating to the city of Ridgeland. Not only did they have to face scrutiny when they made the announcement to leave downtown Jackson, they are now facing opposition about wanting to come to Ridgeland. The tax dollars alone that they will bring to our city should be enough but not to mention what they are going to do for the existing businesses of Ridgeland.

These 600 employees will not only be frequenting the retail shops of Renaissance. All area retailers are going to benefit from this and I would hope that some of these area residents who are opposing this would see this. This is not the “greed of a developer” as it is being told. This is the foresight of a developer who is also looking out for the best interest of our city. Think of the vacant retail spaces that are in the city now. With this number of employees you have to envision that other developers will benefit. Look at the vacant spaces of some of the new retail sites. You know that these will fill once Butler Snow and Horne are brought to the city. Reason being is that they know they will now have the cliental to build here.

I know that the building height is of concern to everyone but I ask that you please take into consideration who the developer is and who is designing the building. As you look at the buildings along the Parkway, you know that there would never be anything allowed but the best.

This is a change for Ridgeland and everyone who lives here but it is a good change. We will all be facing increases in traffic but isn’t that something that we are used to already. Look at how long we put up with County Line road before it was corrected and Lake Harbor. But plans are in place for Lake Harbor that will ease its traffic just as they are in place for the traffic that will increase from this site.

I know that the job of our elected officials is not easy because they have to take into consideration the best interest of all involved. But this should be an easy decision because of the good that is going to do for our city and not to mention what it will bring to our city.

I urge our City leaders to take all of these things into consideration at the up coming request for variance and to not let the opinions of a few be the deciding factor.


GG said...

I want to provide my comments regarding the zoning discussion for the Renaissance development.

I am for the construction of the 17-story building with the following conditions:

· No “blanket” rezoning would be required that would permit construction of virtually any structure or any that would not be on the standard with the existing development and planned additions to it

· A traffic analysis should be performed that would determine if the current and planned road system is adequate and what the impact would be of this additional construction

Highland Colony Parkway is not very old and is desperate need of re-work now. I just read an article on the front page of the Northside Sun discussing this issue. The article suggests that Mayor Hawkins holds Waggoner Engineering responsible.

Traffic is a major concern and Steed Road is just plain dangerous. It needs widening, leveling and resurfacing immediately. I don’t see how it can last another 2 – 3 years.

Finally, the water pressure issue in Bridgewater needs to be addressed, and I can only presume that situation would worsen with the additional development in the area.

Finally, I’m all for corporate headquarters locating in Ridgeland. We desperately need corporate headquarters to achieve “real” economic growth. Corporate headquarters are where decisions are made that impact so many businesses.


Anonymous said...

to the first anonymous post under opposition, i would ask this question: how do you compare the addition of two of the most highly regarded professional services firms in this state, to what is taking place on lakeland drive?? adding businesses of that caliber is precisely the thing that will keep highland colony from becoming lakeland drive. rennasaince retail is bringing in high end stores and restaurants, and part of the reason why.....the high end businesses that will be in that develoment, which will freequent these retail stores. be careful what you wish for. we should be fully supporting this addition to our city.

Jay said...

Hooray for progress! I applaud the initiative to introduce something into the Madison County skyline other than a cell phone tower that looks like a 30 year old artificial Christmas tree. Ridgeland is positioning itself to be a star on the map of Mississippi and will soon outshine its sweet,sleepy neighbor to the north. It is also worth noting that Ridgeland is taking the initiative to improve its infrastructure to accommodate this type of development, as opposed to its neighbor to the north with modified golf cart paths for roads. Go Ridgeland!


Ken said...

Dear Mayor McGee:

I am a member of the Butler Snow law firm and am also a resident of the City of Ridgeland. In fact, I live only one mile from the site of the proposed Butler Snow building. Therefore, I suppose I would have as much reason as any other Ridgeland resident to be concerned about the aesthetics of a new building in our community. Perhaps the fact that I have access to more information about the situation than do most other nearby residents accounts for the fact that I have no concerns whatsoever that the Butler Snow building will detract from the standard of living in Ridgeland. In fact, I firmly believe that, contrary to the worries of some citizens, the building will help, not hurt, surrounding property values.

The Butler Snow building has been designed in an environmentally-friendly manner by Cooper Carry, a world-class architectural firm from Atlanta, along with Dale and Associates of Jackson. I am told it promises to be one of, if not the most, beautiful building in Mississippi. I also understand that the building will add $60 million to the property tax base of Ridgeland, not to mention the attendant effects from sales taxes at area businesses.

Believing in the promise that it is "Open for Business," our Firm made a significant commitment to become one of Ridgeland's corporate citizens. If I may say so, the developer has been successful in securing agreements from three of the finest businesses located in the State of Mississippi. These businesses and their employees will be a tremendous benefit to Ridgeland and the surrounding area.

I trust that you and the Board of Alderman will not allow a smattering of uninformed individuals to override the voice of reason in this situation. The Butler Snow Building will be a first class addition to the City of Ridgeland, and I am confident that once it is built, any concerns will be alleviated.

Thank you for taking the time to read my comments. If I can answer any questions or be of assistance in any way, please do not hesitate to contact me.

J. Kennedy Turner III

Mark said...

Mayor and Aldermen:

My family and I strongly encourage you to support the developer's petition to build a 17-story office building in the Renaissance area.

We are residents of Dinsmor and welcome the development along Highland Colony Parkway. Often times the vocal "minority" is the only voice heard and reacted to. We urge each of you to approve the new development as proposed. We have lived and/or worked in Ridgeland since 1989 and look forward to its continued growth. Most opponents have little or no knowledge of what it takes to grow and manage a thriving and healthly city. Let us not allow the "minority" to control the future direction of our city.

We commend each of your for your direction and leadership.


Kevin said...

Yes, I Strongly Support the Proposed 17 Story Building!

I've reviewed the proposed petition, and feel overly comfortable not only with what is being proposed by the developer, but with all parties involved - especially the to-be occupants of this 17 story building. These are fine people and are well known for attracting more of the same! Their moving from Jackson is not surprising, but having the chance for them to move into Ridgeland's new Colony Park is surprising, and exciting!! Please do all you can to make this happen, and to create a frictionless path for more of the same.

I've also discussed this with the other POA board members of our neighborhood, and several of our property owners, and every one of them support this - with no reservations.

Kevin Crothers, President
Harbortowne Property Owners' Association

Tony said...

Dear Mayor McGee,

As a business owner and investor in the City of Ridgeland I would like to express my desire to see a "special exception" granted for the 17 story Class "A" office building proposed for the Colony Park development.



Anonymous said...

As a resident of Madison County, I am simply amazed that anyone would want to oppose such a development as the Butler Snow building. Mississippi is starving for quality developers to come to the state and make it a better place to work and live. Ridgeland has the opportunity to have the most progressive office development in the state, a development that any other city in the state would die for. I have seen the list of concerns being voiced and I totally disagree with the oppositions view of the development and what the building will do to the area. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity, for the City of Ridgeland to bring professionals of this caliber into the Ridgeland workforce, and into our neighborhoods. I sincerely hope they approve the building.

Anonymous said...

There is a correlation between heights of buildings and property values. Think New York. Regionally, think Atlanta. This building will posistion Ridgeland for decades to come as center for commerce.

Darryl Breland said...

Dear Mayor,

The city of Ridgeland's decision in the matter of allowing taller buildings to be built on I-55 and/Highland Colony Parkway is important to the city of Ridgeland, Madison County, and the entire state of Mississippi. It has often been said that it is important to the entire metro area for Jackson to thrive. This move will help Jackson to thrive because it creates an alternative for corporations to locate. This area is perfect to become the metro area's Uptown business district. As such, businesses which would never consider locating in downtown Jackson but are attracted to this area for reasons such as population and demographics, business climate, ect., will have an alternative. This building won't be too close to residential areas. One opponent told me the reason he didn't want a tall building is because he would be able to see the top of the building from his entrance at Bridgewater. I say so what. One can already see the eight story Cellular South Building from the entrance to Bridgewater. Neither building can be seen from this opponent's residence. What is wrong with seeing a tall building above the trees off in the distance? Opponents say they would not be opposed to taking this same building and dividing into two 8 story buildings. The only problem they seem to have is the height. This is a question of asthetics, and beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I personally like tall buildings. Again I say, few business are going to locate in downtown Jackson due to the crime rate, and many will continue to move to another area. It will benefit all of Mississipp to have another place close to Jackson for these businesses to locate. There is no better place than this site.

Darryl Breland

Anonymous said...

What a fantastic opportunity to put Ridgeland on the map. The building is State -of- the-Art using technology and environmentally progressive techniques that have not been invested into significantly anywhere in the metro area.
We should use this as a flagship for building standards in our State.
Well done Renaissance. You have my positive vote!

Anonymous said...

The 17 story building and the excellent tenants are a tremendous addition to the Ridgeland community.Mississippi needs to strongly support such progressive
projects. You have my enthusiastic endorsement.
David L. Smith M.D.
113 Park Lane
Ridgeland Ms.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

There is no 3rd Fortune 100 tenant committed to the building. That's why it is such a "secret". Regions' bank is the implied tenant, but has adamantly said they are not moving their headquarters from Jackson to Ridgleand. Jackson still has a lot more influence over Regions than Mr. Bailey. Bailey and Butler Snow are clients of Regions, so Regions feels pressured to be a pawn in the deal.

Butler Snow will move to Ridgeland under any scenario that will accomodate them. They have already made plans to move and told everyone they are moving. They can't back out.

Finally, remember that if TIF financing is used, taxes from the proposed property is pledged to repay the debt. It will not have the impact on City revenues claimed by the developer.

Anonymous said...

We have been residents of Dinsmor for the last 6 years and Madison County residents for the last 11. Our children are in school at St. Andrews. We certainly have a vested interest in the proposed building and the "Renaissance property" in general. We are excited about the high quality construction and opportunities for shopping and dining. We suppport the construction of the building as proposed and look forward to the continued growth and economic success of the area.

James and Shannon Warnock

Karen said...

I am writing as both a 10 year resident of Ridgeland (first in the Dinsmor Subdivision, and for the past several years Bridgewater). I am writing to voice my support of the new office building proposed for the Renaissance Development, and to ask all of you to grant the requested variance.

Jerry said...

This is not about one building but a statement that Ridgeland is the new economic center for the state.

Property values will explode upwards as a result.

I grew up is St Louis County and watched Clayton, Missouri reap the rewards of the shift of Missouri’s economic center and now look back to a very similar one building event that made it all happen.

Clayton is now transformed to the best fire district, best school district and highest per capita income in that state.

Don’t let a bunch of Ophra watchers let this opportunity for our city be squandered.


David said...

I completely agree with the comments of Jerry (see above). This is a real opportunity for Ridgeland to become not only equal to Madison but one of the most progressive areas in our state. We cannot afford to let opportunities of this magnitude pass us by. I too lived in Missouri and saw not only Clayton but the Overland Park area in KC which had numerous tall buildings in the Corporate Woods business development . The suburbs were eclipsing the central city itself. This will bring nothing but positive development to Ridgeland.

Susan said...

I thought you might like to know that there are some Dinsmor residents who support the development at Colony Park.

The opponents have been most vocal, but I have spoken with several neighbors who think this development will be very good for our property values for years to come.

I certainly think the tax dollars will be beneficial to our community.
The mall and several office buildings are nearing completion.
There is no turning back now. I don't understand the objection to a building that will house such prestigious firms.

I have heard that the fear of crime coming to the area is a concern of the 17-story building. However, I feel that a mall is much more attractive to criminals than is an office building.
I also support all your efforts to make Ridgeland a pedestrian and bicycle friendly community. I would love to see the trail extend down to Dinsmor, so we can walk to shop, play and work! (This is always something our family looks for in a place to vacation!) Thanks for taking all opinions into consideration.

L said...

As a Dinsmor resident, taxpayer & business person in Ridgeland, I want you to know that I am in favor of the proposed Butler-Snow Building & the entire Renaissance development, as is being laid out by H.C. Bailey Company.

I have seen the artist's rendering of the Butler-Snow Building & this is a first-class building that will be a tremendous landmark for the City of Ridgeland for many years to come. When people travel through our city, the Butler-Snow Building will let them know that Ridgeland is a city with economic foresight in attracting top-notch businesses & possibly providing many more business development opportunities in the future.

As far as the people who are against the proposed building, I have yet to hear one valid reason as to why anyone should be against it. "We don't like tall buildings" is not a valid reason. In the September 6 edition of The Northside Sun, a Dinsmor resident's editorial does not provide one logical reason as to why this development should not be built. Throughout the article, he often refers to the term "spot-zoning". If ever there was a unique situation to approve a variance request, it should be approved for H.C. Bailey Company. This company has been largely responsible for bringing quality businesses to the City of Ridgeland with many more on the way. Over 30 years ago, the City of Memphis almost let Federal Express pick up & move to Little Rock
- - - over a variance request. What a shame that would have been for the people of Memphis!

In my opinion, H.C. Bailey Company has the best of intentions for Ridgeland. In fact, I feel that Buster Bailey is developing his own living legacy for the City of Ridgeland. H.C. Bailey Company has attracted 3 quality tenants for this property that will have a long-lasting economic impact on our city. These opportunities don't come along very often. What a shame it would be for this opportunity to pass Ridgeland by!

With your decision, some people will be elated & others will be upset.
I know, many times, politicians have to make tough decisions & I'm sure this will be the case. The Butler-Snow Building could be the catalyst for many great economic opportunities for the City of Ridgeland. Let's not let this opportunity pass us by.

Kim Crothers said...

This will have a GREAT economic impact on our area! I used to work at WorldCom in Clinton. There were hundreds of us fleeing the building everyday for lunch and shopping. We frequented every locally-owned business and restaraunt in that area. Everything from fast food to nice restaraunts to boutiques to coffee shops to gas stations to skating rinks. These are the kind of customers local area businesses want and need to thrive.

Couldn't the people who moved into the neighborhoods off of Highland Colony see that the state's major highway (55) and a new commercial parkway was in their backyard? The first time I ever drove down Highland Colony, was about 12 years ago, it was obvious to me that it would be a bustling area one day. It was created specifically for commercial development.

Max said...



Anonymous said...

As longtime residents of Dinsmor and parents with kids in Ridgeland public schools, we are in favor of the proposed office development near Steed Road and I-55 and urge the Mayor, Alderman and Planning and Zoning authority to support the project and keep Ridgeland "Open for Business".

sarah m said...

I would like to know how many people opposing the development actually have kids in the Ridgeland public school system? Are there any statistics available on that? Lets think about our kids, our schools when making this decision. That is what is important. I bet 90-100% of the people opposing this development use private schools or have no kids in the public school system.

Nils Mungan, M.D. said...

As a Dinsmor resident, I am writing to voice my strong support for the proposed Butler Snow building. I work at UMC as an ophthalmologist and have no personal or financial ties to the building, its tenants or builders whatsoever. I just think it is a very good thing for Ridgeland in general and for Dinsmor in particular.

Any other municipality would bend over backwards to attract such a building to their zipcode! We shouldn't let fear of progress or fear of large corporations cloud our judgment. I'm sure you have heard all the arguments in favor: It will add $60 million to the property tax base . The building will be filled with hundreds of well-paid professionals, many of whom will choose to live nearby (driving up our property values) and shop nearby (increasing our sales tax revenue). The amount of revenue it generates will vastly surpass any increased costs in terms of roads and other city services. The traffic access is well thought out, and the building is immediately adjacent to the busy highway and really not in anyone's "face." People are worried it will lead to a precedent? I hope it does, to a precedent of filling all of Highland Colony up with high quality businesses that employ highly skilled workers! I have lived in Dinsmor for years and waited and waited to see Highland Colony develop. Now it's finally taking off. Make no mistake -- it could just as easily have become a white elephant...

It seems like all of the politicians have been afraid to publicly express any leanings at all for or against the proposed variance. I think it would truly be a shame if the politicians were intimidated by a small but vocal opposition to the building. The rest of us will remember who voted on the side of hope, and who voted on the side of fear.

It's now or never. Let's send a strong signal that Ridgeland is open for business!

Nils Mungan, M.D.

210 Valley Rd (Dinsmor Subdivision)

Ridgeland, MS

September 9, 2007 9:24 PM

Steve said...

As a homeowner directly facing the proposed building site, I want to state that I am in favor of the developer's building plans. I believe the tenants will bring an attractive tax base and enhance our property values in the long term.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like perfect progress for Ridgeland and the adjacent area. It compliments current growth, offers wise use of land and infrastructure. I don't understand the holdup. Vote yes for this grand opportunity.

Anonymous said...

I live in a neighborhood that is very close to Colony. I am almost ashamed to admit that! :-( With all the pressure going through our neighborhood to get every single person in it to speak against this development, I'm not comfortable telling who I am. Nor do I feel comfortable openly showing my support for this new building. But I do support this building with everything in me, and Mr. Bailey's efforts are welcomed. He is a great man and great things always come out of the buildings he builds. I have grandchildren who attend private schools in Jackson, and it costs us, dearly to keep them in those schools. I am being told this new building would bring over $500,000 each year into our city's schools. We feel with those resources, our schools would be as good or better than Madison's schools, and we might could move our kids into them. That would be such an enormous load off of us. We'd then be able to put the money saved into college funds and retirement savings. Allowing Mr. Bailey to do what he needs to do to bring this business into our city is what is right. Please support this building. We need this.

Anonymous said...

BLOG MODERATOR --- maybe you should put up a new topic so we can discuss last nights meeting?

Victoria said...

I am Dinsmor resident and NEW US CITIZEN and very proud of it. I strongly support new 17 story building because I hope that it will MAKE A PRECEDENT of developing Highland Colony area into successful business area with lots of tax money, well-paid employees, future for all of us and our children. I beleive that Mississippi BADLY needs economic development. Why not Ridgeland? I want to see it developed and modern. I have seen beatufil developments in Europe where everybody benefits from businesses and enjoys good quality homes. I beleive this can be done here, in Ridgeland. I think that quality of construction will be very good, based on what is built along Highland Colony. I agree with people on this blog about cities fighting to bring developers and new businesses. I beleive city of Ridgeland should not miss this great opportunity.
I think that City of Ridgeland should not be intimidated by small but vocal opposition to this development. Let the future begin now!

Victoria Wilbourn
206 Jefferson Ridge
Ridgeland, MS
cell 601-209-3307

GG said...

I’m writing to voice my support for the proposed 17-story building.

I have owned and operated a Ridgeland-based company for 22 years. I have also been a resident of Dinsmor for 10 years and soon will be a resident of Bridgewater. Developments like this are critical to our economic future. Let me explain.

For years I have been an outspoken proponent of Mississippi’s desperate need for corporate headquarters. I submit that over the last several years, Mississippi, certainly central Mississippi has actually experience a net loss of corporate HQ’s. Deposit Guaranty, WorldCom, SunCom, McRae’s, Jitney-Jungle, MobilCom, Mississippi Valley Gas and others no longer call Mississippi their own for various reasons. Now don’t misunderstand me, I don’t fault these organizations one iota for pursuing the transaction that resulted in the dissolution of their MS-based Headquarters. But, what are we doing to replace these valuable losses? Although we have had success in attracting Nissan to Mississippi, it still is not a corporate HQ and rest assured that the majority of the products and services purchased by Nissan on an ongoing basis are supplied from out-of-state firms. Additionally, I have not witnessed an economic impact even remotely close to what Nissan and public officials described pre-construction. I attended a few of these meetings. With the exception of a couple of hotels, does the City of Canton look any different to you?

Corporate HQ’s employ large staffs and executive teams that have significant disposable incomes that are poured back into our economy. Headquarters is where so many decisions are made for everything from professional services to capital and consumable item – typically for all of the enterprise’s locations throughout the nation and even the world.

The proposed tenants of this building are certainly top-notch firms, but their mere re-location from Jackson to Ridgeland doesn’t represent any significant net economic growth. However, the entire Renaissance development, including the proposed building, will serve as an overall investment catalyst for economic expansion. More importantly, it’s the first step towards attracting Enterprise-class corporate headquarters to our area – not just remote branches and factories of organizations that are based in other states or other countries!

To my many friends that live in the surrounding neighborhoods that oppose this building, I am sensitive to and respect your position. I know you are sincere and have legitimate reasons for opposing this.

But I really think there are two other parties that need to be considered in this issue.

First, the developers of the residential areas where folks live that object. Why did they build these neighborhoods so close to the Interstate and more importantly, interchanges? When they built these subdivisions, I-55 was not the major thoroughfare that it is today, linking the explosive growth in south Madison County with downtown Jackson and other areas. Ridgeland was actually still the outskirts of the metro area. Who can blame them, they supplied an obvious demand. Now if they misled residents with promises about the future that they knew they couldn’t keep – then shame on them. I personally never experienced that and had no misconception about the future potential growth and expansion of the area.

Second, as homebuyers, what were we thinking? What did we expect? That this suburban area of the largest and capital city of our state would not expand and grow? It’s right on a major interchange on the most traveled highway in our state for heaven’s sake! We bought and built houses, starting many years ago, about a Tiger Woods par-5-in-2 distance from the I-55. Interstate highways are natural magnets for commercial real estate developments. Every city in America is built around the Interstate system and its interchanges. And we are a country constantly on the move in our motor vehicles. Our advanced transportation system, based on Interstates, beltways and interchanges, conceived by the Federal Bureau of Public Roads in 1939 and funded during the Eisenhower Presidency is one of the chief reasons for the economic expansion and prosperity we have experience over the last 40+ years. Economists have long preached that the key to prosperity is producing more with less and moving goods and services through the supply chain at higher rates of speed.

Hint: This ain’t changing in our lifetime or that of our children’s children’s children.

And even if the developer or our city leaders said “No” to 17 or 13 stories but “Yes” to 8 stories, I don’t think those that oppose this would be content. And I would understand that because it doesn’t achieve what I believe opponents truly desire. With the construction of 2 new interchanges plus frontage roads between Ridgeland and Madison, plus the Parkway, it’s just a matter of time for the entire corridor to be commercialized. Otherwise, I submit that we should discontinue and abandon all of the roadwork immediately. Its of no use if the adjacent property will remain undeveloped. Personally, I think that’s great.

Additionally, there’s just something about reasonable building height, and I think 13 or 17 stories is reasonable, that sends a powerful economic message to investors, and other corporate and business suitors. It has a look of permanency, and stability – not speculation and lack of commitment. That’s especially true when you consider that the tenants of this building will likely be flourishing organizations long after we’ve all met our maker. When you see an attractive structure like this in the distance, you know that good things are going on in the area. It gives people confidence that this is a good place to live and work.

And as a parent and supporter of Ridgeland’s public schools, how could I not be for this? One of the charter missions of our government is to provide quality public education. The cost of that continues to rise. Fuel costs alone are out-of-site, we all feel that pinch every day. How can anyone dispute that any commercial expansion such as Renaissance and the buildings incorporated therein would not benefit our school system? How could anybody be opposed to that? Isn’t it interesting that so many Ridgeland residents opposed to this send their children to private schools – in Jackson.

I too enjoy the lifestyle we enjoy in South Madison County. And like many said at Monday night’s meeting, I don’t enjoy fighting the traffic in Dallas or other major cities. But I also know that the key to a prosperous future and quality of life of our children’s children’s children lies in our ability to balance expansion with vision. If we use common sense planning, reason, and continuous planning and refreshing, we will all enjoy a lifestyle that is second-to-non in our country.

I’m confident that Ridgeland’s leaders understand this and will act accordingly, as they always have in the past. I thank them for their service to our community.

Thanks for listening,

Gerard Gibert, CDP
CEO, Venture Technologies

Anonymous said...

Mr. Gibert! What a wonderfully well-written and thoughtful response.

I agree totally. I am not the best at expressing myself through the written word so I'll show my support of the development with this:

BIG TIME -- we're on our way, we're making it!

GG said...

It appears to me that there are two primary complaints about the proposed building:

1. Traffic
2. Visibiliy of the building from one's home

Also, aren't we spending,uh wasting, an awful lot of tax money on improvements to our road system in Madison County if we don't intend to use them?

Does anybody know exactly how many residential addresses there are in Ridgeland? And how many of this total can actually see the building from their homes? Just curious. I understand why some of those that can may oppose this building, but I submit that the benefits far outweigh the intangible costs.

To the Blogger that is concerned about the restaurants that the workers will walk to, this development is modeled after Destin Commons in Destin, FL. Plenty of great places to eat - all sorts of fare, none of it "fast food". Where do you think these tenants currently of downtown Jackson eat now? Not at fast food restaurants becuase there are none. Further the concept of a multi-service development consisting of office, shopping, banking, lodging and eateries is a recipe for long-term stability. These firms will "feed" off each other - no pun intended.

I can't wait!

Is Ridgeland for sale? This is America. EVERYTHING is for sale. The developers of this area took extraordinary risks many, many years ago when they purchased this land on total speculation. Takes a lot of spine, patience and staying power to do that. Now, they want to "sell" it to qualifed buyers - at a profit. It's fundamental economics and its the cornerstone of the world's most prosperous nation. The lack of this fundamental freedom ended the cold war and brought our most adversarial military superpower to its knees followed by the greatest period of economic expansion ever experienced on our planet. Thank you Ronald Reagan for that.

Many businesses, such as mine, rely on economic expansion for our livelihoods. The loss of corporate headquarters has forced us to seek business out-of-state.

Certainly a tall building as proposed changes the skyline of Ridgeland. Some certainly think for the worse. But to those of us that rely on commercial growth for our living, it's better than the alternative of having to move.

Gerard Gibert, CDP
CEO, Venture Technologies
Ridgeland, Mississippi

Sam Scott said...

In response to Ms Clark’s editorial comment in the Clarion-Ledger this morning, I am surprised that she is against the use of TIF bonds. I think that the Renaissance development is a great asset to the city of Ridgeland and that the city and county were very smart is the issuance of these bonds to secure the development of up to sixty retailers, restaurants and an upscale grocery.

I wonder is she is against the other TIF bonds that have been issued by the city or county including the one for the Harbor Pointe development? What about TIF incentives for the Lowe’s in Ridgeland? Many cities use these bonds to secure economic development. Flowood was wise when they used these incentives to assist in the development of Dogwood Festival. Pearl used them to develop Riverwind which eventually led to the development of BassPro and Trustmark Park. Madison also used TIF money to develop Colony Crossing which now houses many retailers, restaurants and a new Kroger.

As to her comments about pulling developments out of Northpark Mall, doesn’t the city of Madison appear to have been wise when they used TIF money to assist in the development of Grandview? That development will now house the “flagship” of the Belk stores which was announced yesterday. We need to be fighting to get these developments in our city. If we keep fighting against these high end developments, we won’t need to worry about our sales taxes being “earmarked” to pay off TIF bonds. We can let other cities gain these developments and let the tax dollars go somewhere else.

You quoted a resident who felt it is not right for Ridgeland to issue TIF incentives to attract businesses to Ridgeland. It is naïve to think cities are not going to compete for business. I understand residents wanting to support Jackson. One of the best ways to support the city of Jackson is to live, work and shop there.

Ms Clark is correct in Mr. Bailey’s disregard of the cities zoning laws. While I do support his Renaissance development, I do not agree with some of the tactics he has used while developing it. He has waited until the last minute to get approval for a building in which he has secured tenants that the city wants. He is almost holding the city officials hostage in making this decision. While I would rather see the tenants in buildings of lesser height, I will accept them in a 13 story building rather than not at all.

As a resident of Ridgeland and an employee working in the city of Ridgeland, I support Butler Snow and Horne CPA Group coming to Ridgeland.

Sam Scott
Ridgeland, MS

GG said...

Well said, Scott


Anonymous said...

Why do they keep bring up the TIF bonds? That is a done deal. The city of Ridgeland has to pay back the 35 million with or WITHOUT 200 Renaissance.

The board of Aldermen unanimously voted YES to that 3 years ago.

Michael J. Smith said...

I sent the invitation below to neighborhood associations east of I-55. If you know of anyone in that area who would be interesting in supporting the cause, please do a cut and paste and email them this invitation. Mike Smith


If your organization has an email group, please pass this information along to your other members. You can also log onto to view recent comments supporting the project, as well as cast your vote in the poll being conducted. Join those of us west of I-55 who are working to secure the economic benefits of this project for all of Ridgeland.

My name is Mike Smith, and I am the past president of the Dinsmor Property Owners Association. As you may be aware, the issue of the H.C. Bailey 17 story [now 13 story building] on Highland Colony Parkway has divided the neighborhoods west of I-55. What you may not realize is that a number of us, especially a good number of us in Dinsmor, strongly support the project and the economic benefits that this building will bring to the community - in addition to the economic benefits arising from the completion of the Renaissance shopping area and the remainder of the Colony Park development.

First let me assure you that I have no financial stake in this project other than wanting to see my property values increase like every other resident in Ridgeland. Also, I am not a member of any of the three professions that will occupy the completed building. So I am not concerned about competing with any of these firms; I have no hidden agendas, personal motives, or conflicts of interest. My only concern is that all of Ridgeland benefit from the full economic potential of the building. Some may not realize what is at stake with this one building. The three tenants moving into this building have chosen to make their home in Ridgeland, and in doing so they will make Ridgeland the new home of legal, accounting and banking powerhouses in our state. This project will bring to Ridgeland several hundred of the highest paying jobs in the state with an annual payroll of nearly $55,000,000. The benefits will include approximately $400,000 flowing into the Madison County School District from this building alone. [See attached economic data file.] By the time the entire Colony Park development is completed, the school district will be receiving over $2,000,000 in additional revenue annually. This will help offsetting future increases in school taxes while ensuring that our schools continue to be some of the best in the entire state.

As is often the case, when one job is brought into an area, that job creates additional jobs in the local economy through construction, retail sales, service industries, suppliers, etc. This means that this one building has the potential of bringing at full occupancy over 1,600 jobs into the community for an annual payroll of over $83,000,000. Don’t be misled or confused by the information being thrown around regarding the Tax Incentive Funding or TIF. Yes there will be TIF funding to supply the infrastructure – roadways, sewer lines, water lines, drainage, etc. – but not the buildings, and some of the revenue generated by the development currently under construction will be used to pay for the TIF bonds. TIF’s are commonly used to stimulate economic investment and growth in communities. These bonds are carefully calculated based on a conservative estimation of the revenue streams to be generated from a project. The financial groups who organize and offer such bonds would not do so, if there were doubts regarding the viability and value of the project. In this case the TIF will cover the infrastructure for the entire Colony Park development – not just the portion that we see under development now [less than half of the final development]. All business development to follow will have the infrastructure in place, and a portion of the revenue generated from those businesses will flow into the city, county and state coffers providing funding to maintain roads, improve city services, and stimulate the renewal of neighborhoods east of I-55. These items and all the other quality of life items mentioned in the city’s master plan will require funding. If that funding is not generated by growth, there is only one other source – municipal taxes. That is the plain and simple truth. The master plan spoken so highly of can only be effective if it has the funding to succeed.

Those who oppose the project are concerned about the increase in traffic as they drop their children off at school. They don’t want to see the building on the horizon or, as they describe it, “looming over their property”. I spent a Saturday driving around the areas in question and taking photographs. Unlike the person who spoke against the project in the zoning meeting, I could find only two spots in all the neighborhoods west of I-55 where the building would be visible well above the tree line. One individual also claimed to be able to see the balloon marking the building from both entrances to Dinsmor [my neighborhood], but I could not see it even with my glasses on. This group basically doesn’t want to see the area west of I-55 loose its “small community quality”. Given the hundreds of homes and the dozens of residential developments that we have all been a part of west of I-55 over the last few years, I would submit that we have already past that benchmark. One opponent mentioned that light pollution from past developments had already masked the night sky. In truth, the telescope at St. Andrews School lost the ability to view a great deal of the night sky long before the development of Highland Colony and even before the installation of the St. Andrews ball field lights. The lights from our homes and street lamps compromised both the telescope and our view of the night skies – not commercial development. Yes, we all changed the area when we built our homes west of I-55 along a corridor that was conceived and designed for economic development – as well the traffic from such development. As I pointed out in the recent zoning meeting, Highland Colony was never intended to be a bike trail - despite the fact that some would like it to be so. We can still enjoy our communities and pursue projects that will enhance the area, but Highland Colony needs to be developed as intended originally. Some of the opponents have said publicly that they will accept an 8 story building, but privately a recent email encouraged the group to accept nothing greater than a four story structure. Where do these demands stop? What price must we all pay economically as a city so that someone can drive out of their gate in the morning without being troubled by a building just above the tree line. If this is all that they have to worry about each day [compared to some of our citizens in Ridgeland], then they are indeed blessed.

In closing, when the Colony Park project is completed in its entirety, the project will reflect more than a half billion dollar investment in Ridgeland. What has not been mentioned by the opponents of the project, and what I was taught in business school, is that each dollar invested in a community will be multiplied by approximately ten fold as it spreads throughout that community. This is based on the dollar turnover from sales of gasoline, groceries, homes, services such as dry cleaning, food, clothing, furniture, etc. If this multiplier is true, you do the math on the investment and consider all the small businesses that will benefit along with their workers. Each election year, I hear politician after politician proclaiming that they are for economic development, and bear in mind that south Madison County is predominantly Republican – the party that traditionally endorses economic development as the way to improve the quality of life for all. I am amazed that I cannot find very many now who are willing to speak out for economic development. Borrowing the expression that politicians have been so fond of using in past years, this building and the entire Colony Park project truly has the potential of being “an economic tide that raises all boats”. They need to hear from you, if you support this building. Join me and many other building supporters in contacting our aldermen. They need to be reminded that the phrase “Ridgeland is open for business” is not just a slogan for a bill board. As one supporter stated at the zoning meeting, it is time to wake up and realize that Ridgeland is no longer a sleepy little bedroom community outside Jackson. It is a city on the verge of being a great city – if we make the right choices now!

Thank you. Michael J. Smith

Dr. Nils Mungan said...

Extract from Sept 20 Madison County Herald...

Go Ridgeland, a group of residents that has publicly offered support for the building, maintain the building will bring millions of dollars, prestige and upscale tenants into the city of Ridgeland.

"I really don't understand what people are afraid of," said Dr. Nils Mungan, also of Dinsmor. "What are they worried about? 'A bunch of rowdy accountants and lawyers are moving into our neighborhoods. They're going to marry our sons and daughters ...'"

Fred said...

As a comparison to the proposed 13-story building, consider this: the West Medical Tower at St. Dominic Hospital is 13 stories tall and is immediately south of a very nice residential area. So, we're not looking at anything that is strange or unusual with this new building. I'm still in support of it.

GG said...

In response to today's editorial in the Clarion-Ledger:

Oh, I see. We can have nice pretty lawns and houses but just no place to work to pay for them!

And I guess real estate developers are supposed to launch of project of this magnitude with absolutely no clue and no commitments from prospective tenants. And I have the proverbial swamp land in Florida for sale, etc. etc.. Even Donald Trump won’t part with a fraction of his billions to do that!

Seems like journalists are always criticizing anyone or any entity that tries to make money - like it's a "crime" to earn an honest living and attempt to advance one's economic standard and position. The very paper that published this story is but a fraction of a parent company of significant wealth. And that's great with me - they earned that position.

I'm not sure exactly how this building “per se” represents growth - controlled or otherwise. The main tenants proposed are simply relocating about 4 miles north as the crow flies. But I do believe that this building will serve as an invaluable stimulus for true incremental growth – and that’s what is most needed.

And on the subject of growth, wonder if the author realizes that many organizations no longer call Mississippi their corporate home? I submit that our area has experienced a net loss of enterprise-class businesses. We need this building to help attract new firms (not counting the proposed tenants because they aren't new to the area) that will replace these losses.

As for the reference to bumper stickers that say "Ridgeland is For Sale". Wake up. This is America, EVERYTHING is for sale. And if that weren't the case, rest assured we would be another failed socialist economy.

I grew up in a 1,200 sq. ft. 2 bedroom, 1 bath, no air conditioning house in west Jackson over by Hawkins Field. My Dad purchased the house via Veteran’s financing for $6,500.00. He worked his tail off (with a 5th grade education) to get me the education that would ensure my quality of life would be better than is. It’s the natural parental instinct. I know readers of this message have similar stories. Perhaps the author would be happy if we just went back to living to that standard?

Criticizing city leaders for pursuing economic growth is like blasting the armed forces for defending our borders. If this were a sewer plant, a trash dump or something else totally undesirable, I too, would be upset. But this is arguably the finest business structure ever constructed in the State of Mississippi and on of the finest in the South.

The author talks about controlled growth. How does building height equate to “controlled growth”? My perception is that the author’s position is that we should not capitalize on any economic opportunities but rather wait. We are desperate for it and frankly, have a very significant challenge in competing with neighboring states.

Perhaps the author and the building opponents would be happy for our leaders to thwart all plans for commercial development. Let's just revert to the farming economy of the 1920's or the suburban structure of the past where all commercial development occurred "downtown" and folks lived in row houses with picket fences in the "suburbs". Even the author realizes that in fact, the media relies on revenue from advertising by firms that hope to persuade someone to buy something and that the Clarion-Ledger and other media outlets stand to gain a great deal from the entire Renaissance development.

Let’s just keep sending our tax money to the State Tax Commission necessary to educate our offspring so they can contribute to the economy and prosperity of every state but our very own.

Shame on you Mayor McGee and Ridgeland Alderman for securing our economic future.

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