Downtown Jackson News

The New Life of the Iron Horse Grill

A Jackson-based group of investors announces the redevelopment of the Iron Horse Grill. This iconic Jackson landmark, which originally was the Armour Smokehouse built in 1906, housed the wildly popular Iron Horse Grill and has been abandoned since a fire in 1999.

The investors, led by Joseph Simpson of the Simpson Group, includes Jackson businessmen Jesse Simpson, John Luckett, Johnny Johnson, David Waddell, Andrew Jenkins and Mark McCormack. This group acquired the property in 2009, and the resulting development will include the Iron Horse Grill restaurant and a live music venue in a 12,000 square foot facility. The building will also house the Mississippi Music Experience, which is a collection of Mississippi Music Hall of Fame memorabilia collected by Dr. Jim Brewer as well as a retail store featuring items from the Mississippi Blues Trail.

With the ongoing revitalization of Downtown Jackson, Simpson explains "We expect this project to help further solidify that Downtown Jackson is in a revival and has a bright future. Downtown must be a center for business and development, and we must all come together to keep it healthy. With the tourism goals for our development, it makes sense for the Iron Horse to be located in the heart of Downtown Jackson."

MuniStrategies, in conjunction with Trustmark National Bank in Jackson, who served as the lead investor, spearheaded the $8 million investment. MuniStrategies is a Mississippi-based New Markets allocatee that provides federal and state tax credit incentives to help finance this project. This investment utilized $4.5M in MuniStrategies federal New Market Tax Credit (NMTC) allocation along with federal historic tax credit incentives and Mississippi NMTC incentives provided through the Mississippi Development Authority. Trustmark provided the senior debt along with the tax credit equity and the Jackson Redevelopment Authority provided Urban Renewal Bonds in support of the project. A total of 120 jobs are expected to be created. At least $3 million in annual income is projected for the restaurant with the City of Jackson gaining over $200,000 in tax revenue.

“This development means so much to the city of Jackson.” says Jackson Mayor Harvey Johnson. “It provides a tremendous tie-in between the core of downtown and projects west of the rail line extending to the campus of Jackson State University.”

Third District Congressman Gregg Harper stated, “So many Mississippians have such fond memories of this landmark establishment. Using Federal New Markets Tax Credits in support of this project is the sort of support that government can provide to help rebuild communities and develop jobs for its residents.”

Ben Allen, President of Downtown Jackson Partners, stated “I cannot overstate the impact this will have on Jackson. To have this come back to life is a major triumph. This is just another sign of the momentum in downtown and it really ties together the developments on the west end of our community.”

A groundbreaking ceremony has been scheduled for Monday, December 10, 2012 at 10:30 a.m. at the site on 320 West Pearl Street. Several local, state and federal officials are scheduled to attend. Attendees will be able learn more about the development plans.
A groundbreaking is scheduled for December 10th at 10:30am at the site. During the ceremony, the group will be announcing this year's inductees into the Mississippi Musicians Hall of Fame. The project is scheduled to be completed in late summer 2013.