After months of uncertainty and plans delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic, Metrocenter Mall in Jackson will partially reopen later this month, officials told Mississippi Today.
The mall, long a pillar of economic development and entertainment in west Jackson, opened in 1978. At the time, the 1,250,000 square feet of mall space was the largest in the state, comprised of two levels of retail and office space with 60 stores and four anchor stores.
After several attempts to revitalize the mall, the property closed for good in 2018 as a major retail area. Only a handful of City of Jackson offices and a Burlington Coat Factory remained as occupants.
But in January 2020, Emily Seiferth-Sanders announced her initial plan to reopen the mall on April 1. By March, the pandemic was taking root in the state, effectively delaying plans to open the mall.
April 1 came and went without opening, and WJTV and other outlets reported many vendors complained they were never contacted by Seiferth-Sanders about opening plans after they paid their deposit for a spot. On Oct. 2, Seiferth-Sanders posted a video to the mall’s Facebook page addressed to tenants. She said she couldn’t give an opening date yet, but she gave directions for tenants to cancel their lease and get their deposit back if they wished.
This week Seiferth-Sanders told Mississippi Today she plans to conduct a “soft opening” of an upper-level section of the mall on Nov. 25. However, those plans are dependent upon passing inspection by City of Jackson Code Enforcement and the Fire Marshall.
“We’re here to build up the wasted place and bring life… restoration, to this area of west Jackson that has been on a decline for a while,” she said. “There will be 25% of retail stores, along with an entertainment area, schools, food vendors, a drive-in movie theater and mixed-use housing.”
“Currently, we have 40 tenants, a few of those being food vendors,” said Senior Vice President of Mall Operations William Grigsby. “It’s exciting. We want to support the community, help revitalize the area by creating jobs. And we want the community’s support too.”