King Edward Revitalization Project

Jackson, Mississippi

Award Type: Honor Award

Since it first opened in 1923, the King Edward Hotel has dominated Jackson, Mississippi’s downtown skyline.  The Neoclassic hotel was once the city’s social hub, welcoming everyone from state legislators to bright-eyed debutantes. But in 1967, the hotel closed its doors—and for the next 40 years, this 12-story landmark was a vacant eyesore, wind whistling through its broken windows, its once-elegant interiors crumbling into ruin.

Despite numerous failed attempts to restore the landmark building and in the face of calls for its demolition, HRI Properties of New Orleans embarked on an ambitious renovation project in 2006. In addition to missing windows, holes in the roof and extensive water damage, the developers had to contend with hundreds of pigeons that had taken up residence in the hotel.  Although time, weather and vandalism had destroyed many historic features, they’ve all been gloriously brought back to life.  Missing and damaged plaster was replicated, the original ballroom was re-created using historic photos and the handsome lobby rotunda that had been covered decades ago was re-opened.

Today, the restored King Edward rooftop sign shines over a building that houses a 186-room hotel with meeting space, restaurants and 64 luxury apartments. The project, completed in 2009, is credited with spurring rehabilitation activity in other historic buildings nearby. 
 
“From ruin to renaissance: That is the story of the King Edward Hotel,” said Stephanie Meeks, president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.  “Historic preservation is a powerful tool for revitalizing communities, and there is no better example of that than the rebirth of Jackson’s landmark hotel.”