City approves final lease for historic train depot on Broadway Street

From: Natchez Democrat

On Tuesday, the Natchez Mayor and Board of Aldermen voted to execute a lease for the historic train depot on Broadway Street to be renovated into a restaurant and entertainment space.

Natchez City Attorney Bryan Callaway said the lease of the city-owned property to Church Hill Music LLC — which is owned by local film producers Tate Taylor and John Norris — is renewable after five years starting May 1, 2021.

The rent has been set at $1,700 per month, which is above the legally required minimum rent of $1,540 based on three different appraisals, Callaway said.

A credit can also be applied to the monthly rent for permanent improvements to the property. Church Hill Music agreed to invest more than $1 million worth of improvements at the facility.

However, Taylor said their vision for the bluff goes beyond that with the addition of a small amphitheater consisting of a semi-circular seating area that terraces up on the river-facing side of the property towards the walking trail and possibly a children’s playground near the depot among other enhancements in the future.

The Mississippi Department of Archives and history “did not balk at the idea of having a playground” in the vicinity of the depot, Taylor said.

“It won’t be plastic or ugly,” he said of the play area. “We’re going to make it beautiful.”

Norris said construction is ready to start now with the restaurant projected to open sometime this fall.

In addition to these enhancements, the Church Hill company also plans to bring live entertainment to the bluff beginning with the inaugural Mississippi Mudbug Festival, which is scheduled to take place on Saturday, May 15, on the bluff. The festival will include live music, C&M Crawfish with a variety of other food and beverage vendors. Gates will open at 1 p.m. with music beginning at 3 p.m. and tickets for the event are on sale now at
The lineup includes a medley of country, southern rock and zydeco music brought by Riley Green, Drivin N Cryin, Terrance Simien & The Zydeco Experience, Southern Avenue and The B3.

“The bluff is going to be this spot unlike any place on the Mississippi River,” Taylor said. “The music we’re bringing is going to be multicultural and it is for everybody.”


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