The collapse of malls throughout the country is evident, even close to home. It’s been nearly seven years since the shutdown of the old Singing River Mall in Gautier, but now the city is ready to turn the lot and area around it into an economic dream, known as the town center.
For years, the site of Gautier’s old Singing River Mall has been a reminder of what used to be with little to no sign of life, but a change is coming. Gautier Mayor Phil Torjusen said, “What we’re going to be doing out there is a complete mixed use of a little bit of something for everybody. We’re working it out with the Mississippi Songwriters Alliance to put their performing arts museum there. That’s going to be a big draw and a really nice thing. We’re going to have retail stores, restaurants and bars. We’re even going to have a feasibility study out there saying it supports a hotel out there.”
Mayor Torjusen says housing properties on the site are also possible. Currently, Torjusen says the city is waiting on the $5.5 million purchase of the mall to close. In the meantime, phase one of the Gautier Commons Park has started. “In addition to redeveloping the mall property with the retail and what all I described, we currently own 33 acres north of the property that borders it. We are in the process of developing a park area out there. We’ll have amphitheaters, pavilions, kayaking, a lake, pickle ball, basketball. All kinds of activities will be going on out there too. It’s going to be a new town center when we get done.”
Mayor Torjusen says the new developments coming to the old Singing River Mall could bring as many as 500 new jobs to Gautier. “It’s going to be a catalyst for a lot of things in Jackson County. And Jackson County is doing well, even through this pandemic. Our city is actually up on sales taxes from last year. It’ll employ 500 when it’s in full development or maybe more. A lot of different things can happen when you start the process. “