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Hinds County eyes Metrocenter mall property

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JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Hinds County is borrowing $8 million amid discussions of buying or leasing a portion of Jackson's Metrocenter mall for relocation of some local offices.

The Clarion-Ledger reports (http://on.thec-l.com/1mEEAWU) that the city of Jackson, the Mississippi Department of Public Safety and the U.S. Army have offices in the mall.

The mall was built in 1978. It has four anchor stories but all the other square footage is available for sale or lease with the selling price being $6 million, said Scott Overby, principal broker with The Overby Co. of Jackson.

That would include the mall's interior retail space of about 548,000 square feet, the ring road surrounding the mall and its food court, Overby said.

If a transaction were to take place, the intent would be for lease payments from retailers in the mall to be used to pay back the bonds, said board of supervisors' attorney Pieter Teeuwissen.

"The board is interested in supporting redevelopment to Metrocenter but has not committed to any financing," Teeuwissen said.

He said approval of issuing of bonds is only a first step if the county wants to continue in that process and actually borrow the money.

"The county still has a lot of homework to do. It's not a final commitment," Teeuwissen said.

The concern to supervisors, Teeuwissen said, is to avoid the chance a bond issue could lead to a tax increase.

"We're looking at a repayment model that would be revenue-neutral to the county," he said. "If there's an income stream to satisfy the debt, then the board is interested."

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Information from: The Clarion-Ledger, http://www.clarionledger.com

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