Inn-vesting in Downtown

Published 6:22 pm Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The address of 210 South Whitworth Ave. has seen multiplechanges through the years. The building once kept the men ofBrookhaven in the latest styles of fashion as the Progressive Men’sShop and was then used to clothe people in God’s word as CentralBaptist Church.

Although vacant of any business or spiritual healing now, thebuilding will undergo construction to get back to its roots.

“We’re very fortunate that those investing in this venture haveconfidence in our market to make this work,” saidBrookhaven-Lincoln Chamber of Commerce Executive Vice PresidentCliff Brumfield.

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Crews have been working since April in conjunction with theMississippi Department of Archives and History to make the buildingappear is it did in the 1900s and to turn the building into anapartment and hotel complex.

The 12,000 square feet of the Inn on Whitworth will featureseven apartments upstairs and seven hotel rooms downstairs. Themillion-dollar investment will also feature a 10 by 20 footskylight, which will be seen from the first floor. Investors hopethe inn is finished by January.

“I don’t think there’s been a larger investment in downtown thanthis one here,” said partner John Lynch.

With tax incentives to replicate the building as it was in the1900s, Lynch has been working with the MDAH.

Some of the 1900s style features will include plaster walls,high ceilings and an awning outside the building that will stretchto the street.

“We have to keep what is originally there,” said Lynch aboutMDAH regulations. “They’re just somebody else you have to considerwhen you’re doing this stuff.”

When the Progressive Men’s Shop closed its doors about two yearsago, Lynch purchased the building. About the same time the membersof Central Baptist Church were looking for a temporary place ofworship until their new church was constructed on Highway 550.

With knowledge of the church moving its congregation to its newlocation, Lynch began developing his plans for the inn about sixmonths before church members packed up.

“We’re doing this for Brookhaven because we want it to do well,”said Lynch on behalf of himself and the other four partners.”Especially for downtown Brookhaven to do well.”

Brumfield thinks the 1900s looking hotel will add to the styleand charm of downtown and will add a uniqueness to the area thatcould attract additional visitors.

” A downtown area is one of the indicators of a community’shealth and progress,” said Brumfield.

In addition to being another attraction in downtown, Brumfieldand Lynch think the project will encourage business growth in thearea.

“With more and more businesses relocating downtown andproperties being renovated, it only encourages more of the same,”said Brumfield.