The District at Midtown project began to take shape in 2013 after the vacant Elam Arms dorms and parking lots were demolished and sold to developers. Construction of two buildings is set to be completed in early 2018.
The Midtown project will reside between Highway 49 and Interstate 59 neighboring The University of Southern Mississippi. Due to its location, the District at Midtown is an avenue to connect the campus with the community.
The ultimate goal in the development of the District at Midtown is to help establish a city more accessible to foot traffic where Hattiesburg residents can enjoy sidewalks, shops, restaurants and apartments while staying in touch with the spirit of Hattiesburg.
“In [regard] to the project’s goal to add sidewalks to connect the city via foot, I predict this will be a hit with students,” SGA Vice President McKenna Stone said. “We’re quite used to walking – we spend most of our days walking around campus from classes to meals to residential areas. If you give us a new area to walk around, we’ll explore. The sidewalks will provide fun leisure activities for students such as shopping, eating, exercising, sightseeing and meeting new people.”
With the District at Midtown just steps away from campus, Southern Miss students will have a convenient opportunity to interact with fellow community members, eradicating any isolation of campus.
“I believe the Midtown project will incentivize Southern Miss students to spend more time exploring all that Hattiesburg has to offer outside of our campus,” Stone said. “In my opinion, this project can help students get plugged into the Hattiesburg community whether through networking with locals, volunteering to serve Hattiesburg or finding their favorite spots to hang out off-campus.”
Southern Miss students who grew up in the Hattiesburg area identify with Hattiesburg not only as their college town, but also as the place they call home. The advances being made in the Midtown project are exciting to local students who are familiar with the city.
“As a lifelong resident and current student in Hattiesburg, I often feel like I know every facet of the city and that there’s nothing truly new to see or do in Hattiesburg,” junior public relations major Raley Malone said. “I think that the District at Midtown will introduce unique aspects to the town and university that are unique to Hattiesburg and to other college towns overall. I think it will be a major selling point to new students and will give lifelong Hattiesburgers a chance to experience a new side of the city.”
The first development in the project are the two buildings near South 31st Avenue, which will soon be occupied by restaurants including Newk’s Express Café, Tazikis Café and Fuzzy’s Taco Shop.
For more information on the project, visit thedistrictatmidtown.com.