Video: New Restaurant Helps Spur Revitalization Efforts In One Neighborhood

TUPELO, MISS. (WCBI) – David Leathers is passionate about his new restaurant.

Leathers is owner of “Forklift Restaurant.” It is being built at the corner of West Jackson Street and Clayton Avenue, on the same lot where an apartment stood that was a trouble spot.

Now, work is underway on “Forklift”, which Leathers believes is a sign of better things to come for the area that borders the historic and popular Joyner neighborhood.

“We’re pioneering a movement that is happening all around the country, opening up commercial right on the edge of residential, so it’s something we’re doing that we’re seeing all over the country, so why can’t Tupelo do it,?” Leathers said.

Forklift will feature menu items with a creative twist on southern food.

“I want to do homage to pork,” Leathers said.

The well known chef is giving a tour of the restaurant to Chad Frerer, a developer who is helping back the project financially, and Norma Cother, a broker with Crye Leike Realty.

“It’s a wonderful neighborhood, and to really draw people back to this neighborhood, we needed to do some upgrades, this is fantastic,” Cother said.

While workers are busy at Forklift, just a few blocks west, construction crews are clearing lots for what will be a residential development.

That project is overseen by the non profit Neighborhood Development Corporation. The NDC purchased homes in the area, tore them down and will make the space available for developers once it is ready.

Investors like Frerer say cooperation among the city, business people and others has been key to revitalization of the area.

“It doesn’t matter if it,s city hall, NDC,people from the neighborhood association, help us with the conceptualization and some architect, so much support I can’t say enough about it,” Frerer said.

The Tupelo based Mabus Agency has been tapped to come up with a brand for the area. It will be called “Jackson West.” Plans call for neighborhood signs and banners, and the logo could appear on shirts, coffee mugs and other merchandise, that might be available at Forklift Restaurant.

“Forklift” should be opened by August. Developers have expressed an interest in the twelve residential lots in the new neighborhood.

Categories: Local News

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