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LeFleur Lakes

Economic Impact Evaluation – Summary Report

Prepared for

LeFleur Lakes
February 2010
LeFleur Lakes Economic Impact Evaluation

Table of Contents
1. Executive Summary
a. Purpose, Authority, and Scope
b. Methodology and Approach
c. Findings and Conclusions
d. Recommended Implementation Approach
2. Lakes-Related Flood Control Plans
a. Background of Lakes-Related Flood Control Plans
b. Evolution of the Lower Lake Plan
c. Congressional Authorization
3. Master Land Use Plan
a. Project Area Land Use Plan
b. Foundational Infrastructure
c. Recreational Assessment
d. Issues Impacting Development
4. Economic Impact Analysis
a. Market-Based Analysis
b. Benefit-Cost Analysis
5. Financing and Implementation Plan
a. Options for Public and Private Funding
b. Governmental and Institutional Considerations
c. Recommendations for Implementation
6. Public Relations Plan

Appendices (Under Separate Cover)

a. LeFleur Lakes Master Land Use Plan, February 2008,DPZ
b. LeFleur Lakes Market Analysis, March 2007, ERA
c. Lower Lake Plan Cost Benefit Analysis, September 2009, ERA
d. LeFleur Lakes Recreational Planning Report, August 2007, Department
of Landscape Architecture, Mississippi State University
e. Environmental Justice Issues Related to Proposed LeFleur Lakes
Development, December 2007, Department of Agriculture and Resource
Economics, Colorado State University

LeFleur Lakes Economic Impact Evaluation


Purpose, Authority and Scope

he LeFleur Lakes Development Foundation (Foundation) was created by the Rankin-
Hinds Pearl River Flood and Drainage Control District for the purpose of evaluating
economic development opportunities associated with flood control alternatives for the
Jackson Metropolitan Area. In August of 2006 the Foundation authorized Mississippi Engineering
Group (MSEG), Inc., to evaluate the economic impact of the Locally Preferred Plan under
consideration at that time to control flooding from the Pearl River. The evaluation is known as the
“Economic Impact Study of the LeFleur Lakes Flood Control Plan” (Economic Impact Evaluation).
The purpose of the evaluation was to determine the socio-economic impact of the locally
preferred flood control plan on the metro Jackson area and to determine whether the incremental
benefits of the plan would outweigh the additional cost. In addition to determining whether or not
area citizens could afford the project, factors such as land use planning, financing sources, legal
issues, and management and implementation issues were to be considered.

The LeFleur Lakes Flood Control Plan under consideration at the time was determined to be
unacceptable due to high cost and extensive environmental impacts. Consequently, in July 2007
the Rankin-Hinds Flood and Drainage Control District (Flood District) adopted a modified version
of the LeFleur Lakes Flood Control Plan, which included levees and a lower lake. The adopted
plan is known as the “Lower Lake Plan” and, in Corps of Engineers terms, is also known as the
Locally Preferred Plan. Once the Flood District adopted the Lower Lake Plan, it became the
focus of the Economic Impact Evaluation.

Methodology and Approach

The Economic Impact Evaluation included several separable components, completed by various
members of the MSEG team. Mississippi Engineering Group, Inc. analyzed data from these
multiple components, consolidating information and drawing conclusions based on findings
contained therein. These sources include reports commissioned by MSEG for purposes related
to the Lower Lake Plan, including a Benefit-Cost Analysis, Market Analysis, and Recreational
Planning Report. Additional data were derived from U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Through
data consolidation and evaluation of pertinent information, a comprehensive scope of the
economic impact associated with the Lower Lake plan becomes readily apparent and relevant.
This current Summary Report provides a synopsis of the various separable work components and
combines the findings into a single summary document. The essential work on this evaluation
was completed with the presentation to the Foundation at its April 30, 2009 meeting.

LeFleur Lakes Economic Impact Evaluation

Findings and Conclusions

The Lower Lake Plan consists of a significant impoundment, approximately 1,500 acres in
surface area and six and one half miles in length. The lake is strategically positioned near the
Central Business District of the City of Jackson, spanning a reach from Lakeland Drive to the
KCS Railroad River Bridge just south of I-20 near Richland, as illustrated in Figure 1. The plan
envisions creation of two islands with a developable area of approximately 215 acres.
Additionally, the lake produces approximately 13 miles of potential shoreline development
consisting of roughly 1000 acres. A Master Land Use Plan was developed to guide the building
architecture and zoning needs for the Lower Lake Plan. Both pedestrian and automotive
thoroughfares are identified in addition to parks, open space, and recreational opportunities.
Connectivity with traffic networks in Hinds and Rankin counties has been reinforced with ties to
both regional highways and principal local roads, such as Fortification Street, Lakeland Drive, and
Flowood Drive. Finally, a significant portion of LeFleur’s Bluff State Park, including walking trails,
can be preserved.

The conceptual opinion of development cost for the

A comparison of debt
Lower Lake Plan is $605 million. The build-out of
service payments to the
such a large area is assumed to span a 30-year
income generated via lease
period and would result in the development of
payments indicates a net
approximately 7,500 new residential units. A
positive revenue generated
comparison of debt service payments ($200 million
by year six of the project.
bond issue) to the income generated via lease
payments indicates a net positive revenue generated
by year six of the project.

To implement such a project, the existing boundaries of the Flood Control District would need to
be expanded. Several alternatives were evaluated that would result in the expansion of the
existing boundaries. One need for boundary extension is the simple fact that the project extends
beyond the existing boundaries of the Flood Control District, though the entire project is required
to be within the scope and jurisdiction of the Flood Control District. Other considerations include
flood protection and economic benefit which will be afforded to areas outside the existing

LeFleur Lakes Economic Impact Evaluation

The Lower Lake Plan retains a complementing proposal to develop the potential of Town Creek
as a mixed-use amenity and regional attractions similar
to that found in other urban areas, such as San Antonio’s
Riverwalk. This waterfront pedestrian promenade would Of interest to note is the fact
feature a series of plazas, parks and gathering spaces that the Corps of Engineers’
with shops and restaurants. Inserted as a mid-block own ‘Levee Plan’ of 1996
corridor, a promenade would extend from the Museum recognized the opportunity for
and Convention Center Complex along East Pascagoula such development and even
Street southward and encourage the revitalization of an included conceptual renderings
under-utilized district in very close proximity to to illustrate the possibilities.
downtown. This water feature also holds the potential
that citizens could enter a watercraft near the Convention
Center Complex and access six and one half miles of the Pearl River, the new islands, and miles
of newly developed shoreline. Of interest to note is that the Corps of Engineers’ own ‘Levee Plan’
of 1996 recognized the opportunity for such development and even included conceptual
renderings to illustrate the possibilities.

Recommended Implementation Approach

Since July 2007, the Rankin-Hinds Pearl River Flood and Drainage Control District has continued
to support the implementation of the Lower Lake Plan or some lake-based variation as the
preferred option for flood control in the Jackson Metropolitan Area. This option consists of the
Comprehensive Levee Plan, advocated by the Corps as the National Economic Development
plan, as well as a “lower lake” which includes a central island feature. This approach is desirable
as it appears to be an effective balance between the Corps’ desire to pursue cost efficient and
effective flood control accompanied by economic development opportunities.

A master land-use plan and cost-benefit analysis have been developed for the project. Based on
the projections provided through these documents, it appears that implementation of the Lower
Lake Plan or a similar lake-based approach is a feasible course of action. While details are
discussed later in this report, estimates indicate a positive benefit-cost ratio based on projected
economic impacts. Therefore, the Lower Lake Plan provides a feasible means of achieving the
dual objective of effective flood control and meaningful economic development.

Flood Control, Pearl River Basin, Mississippi; Jackson Metropolitan Area, Mississippi; Feasibility
Report, Volume III, Appendix 8 – Recreation Report, Draft, January 1996.

LeFleur Lakes Economic Impact Evaluation


Background of Lakes-Related Flood Control Plans

In April 1979 the catastrophic “Easter” flood occurred in the

Pearl River basin, devastating the City of Jackson and
surrounding communities. Following that event, Congress
authorized the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Vicksburg District
(the Corps), to develop a comprehensive flood control plan for
the Jackson Metro area. Two such plans evaluated by the
Corps included the Shoccoe Dry Dam in the early 1980s and the
Comprehensive Levee Plan, submitted in January 1996.
Neither proposal garnered a great deal of enthusiasm from area

The Corps is the federal agency authorized to implement flood

control solutions throughout the United States; however, the
Corps must have a non-federal unit of government to act as
local sponsor for implementing its programs. Although the
Corps evaluated the two aforementioned plans and determined
both were technically and economically sound (i.e., they
provided cost-effective flood control to Jackson), opposition
and/or lack of local support derailed both. While the Pearl River
Basin Development District agreed at the time to serve as the
local, non-federal sponsoring entity for the Levee Plan, the
Development District was unable to secure public support and
local funding for the project. Figure 1. Lower Lake Plan

The original Two Lakes flood control concept was developed around 1996 by John McGowan as
an alternative to plans previously evaluated by the Corps but discarded for various reasons 2 .
The McGowan Two Lakes Plan gained widespread support from virtually every unit of county and
municipal government within the Jackson Metro area. Hence, in 2003 the Flood Control District

Various presentations of the original Two Lakes Plan are summarized in documents such as Richard
Weatherly (Weatherly Engineering Services, LLC), “LeFleur’s Lakes Design,” December 7, 2004; “Flood
Control and Development Plan for the Jackson Metropolitan Area,” Revised November 15, 1999;
“Downstream Impact and Reservoir Regulation, Flood Control and Development Plan for Jackson
Metropolitan Area,” December 15, 1999.

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agreed to serve as the local sponsor for evaluation of the Two Lakes Plan, which was
subsequently re-named the LeFleur Lakes Plan (Figure 1).

As the local sponsor for the existing levee system (an existing federal flood control project), the
Flood Control District contacted the Corps in 2002 to determine the basic requirements for
implementing the LeFleur Lakes Plan. The Flood Control District agreed, in consultation with the
Boards of Supervisors of Rankin and Hinds Counties, to participate as the non-Federal partner
with the Corps in development of a Feasibility Study/Environmental Impact Statement (FS/EIS).
This effort was to evaluate the LeFleur Lakes Plan as an alternative to the enhanced and
expanded Levee Plan previously recommended by the Corps in 1996. The Corps and the Flood
Control District executed a Feasibility Cost-Share Agreement in October 2003 to conduct the
referenced FS/EIS. The budget for this work, established by the Corps, was $2.85 million and
was to be cost-shared 50-50 between the Corps and the Flood Control District. The Boards of
Supervisors of Hinds and Rankin Counties agreed to provide the 50% local cost-share.
Environmental and engineering evaluations were initiated in February 2004 in accordance with a
30-month schedule with an anticipated completion date of September 2006.

In February 2007 the Corps issued the Pearl River Watershed, Mississippi, Feasibility Study Main
Report, and Preliminary Draft. The Report identified the Levee Plan as the “NED” (National
Economic Development) Plan at a total cost of $205,800,000 and estimated a total cost of the
LeFleur Lakes Plan of $1,429,000,000.

The basic findings of the report are as follows:

• The LeFleur Lakes concept is technically feasible, with modifications to include pumps
and levees; that is, it would provide effective flood protection;
• The LeFleur Lakes concept is economically infeasible according to Federal flood control
law in effect at that time, meaning that the cost of the plan would be greater than the
economic value of the benefit it would provide; and
• The environmental impact of the LeFleur Lakes concept is significantly greater than the
Corps’ Levee Plan and would incur a substantially greater risk of environmental litigation
that potentially could delay the project for decades.

“NED” plan denotes National Economic Development Plan and is the plan that the Corps, according to
established guidelines, determines is in the greatest national interest economically; i.e., it maximizes
benefit-to-cost. The NED plan establishes the baseline level at which Congress will participate in funding a
flood control project.

LeFleur Lakes Economic Impact Evaluation

Of the environmental and other concerns noted by the Corps’ report, the most significant is the
amount of additional dredging required for the lakes to provide flood control to Jackson, Richland,
and the Savanna Street Wastewater Treatment Facility. In its analysis, the Corps determined
that it would be necessary to dredge the Pearl River 15 feet deep and 1,500 feet wide for 13
miles, from Interstate 20 to Byram, Mississippi. Other requirements to assure the effectiveness of
the plan include altering the operation of the Ross Barnett Reservoir dam gate and the loss of
most preservation and recreational areas within LeFleur’s Bluff State Park. Operation of the dam
is a subject of especially significant controversy due to
concerns that gate manipulation could increase flooding risk
in communities in South Mississippi and may negatively In its analysis, the Corps

affect the seafood industry due to the change in freshwater determined that it would be

flows to the Mississippi Sound. necessary to dredge the

Pearl River 15 feet deep and
While it is not untypical for projects of significant magnitude 1,500 feet wide for 13 miles,
to have either a serious benefit-to-cost deficit or adverse from Interstate 20 to Byram,
environmental impact, the LeFleur Lakes Plan is severely Mississippi.
constrained by these critical feasibility factors.

Evolution of the Lower Lake Plan

In February 2007, as the Corps was concluding preparation of its draft report on the findings of
the FS/EIS, the LeFleur Lakes Development Foundation initiated an economic development
analysis to evaluate options for implementation of the selected flood control plan, whatever plan
that might be. The initial activity authorized as part of the economic development plan was a
week-long, public planning charrette, held at the Mississippi Telecommunications Center in
downtown Jackson. The charrette attracted several hundred participants over its eight-day
duration, including local elected officials and interested citizens as well as representatives of the
Two Lakes for Mississippi Foundation.

Taking into account the Corps’ estimated cost of the LeFleur Lakes Plan and the support
achieved through the charrette process for a scaled-down version of the lakes concept, the Flood
Control District evaluated several options for reducing the scope of the plan. At the request of the
Flood Control District, the Corps agreed to evaluate the hydraulic function of a single lake plan
and concluded that such a plan, when combined with levees, would provide flood protection in
excess of that provided by the levees. Subsequent to these findings, the Flood Control District
developed the option known as the Lower Lake Plan. As envisioned, the Lower Lake Plan would
encompass the NED Plan in conjunction with a single lake, the “lower lake”, constructed to
optimize hydraulic and flood reduction benefits, while providing opportunities for minimizing cost

LeFleur Lakes Economic Impact Evaluation

and environmental impacts from the overall project. Additionally, the Lower Lake Plan included
ample economic development opportunities. Thus, it was viewed as an alternative that could
fulfill the Flood Control District’s desire for effective flood control, the Corps of Engineers’ concern
with economic efficiency and limited environmental impact, and those with economic
development interests as well. In July 2007, the Flood Control District adopted the Lower Lake
Plan as the Locally Preferred Plan for flood control.

Congressional Authorization

In November 2007, the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) of 2007 (Public Law 110-
114, Section 3104, see next page), became law, passing both the House and the Senate over a
presidential veto. The most significant impact to the Rankin-Hinds Metro Area is that WRDA
2007 contains Congressional authorization for a comprehensive flood control project for the first
time since Shoccoe Dam was authorized in 1986. WRDA 2007 contains specific provisions
related to Pearl River flood control and the LeFleur Lakes Plan, not the least of which is that it
authorizes federal cost participation in the amount of $133,770,000, if the project can be shown to
be technically feasible and environmentally acceptable.

LeFleur Lakes Economic Impact Evaluation

LeFleur Lakes Economic Impact Evaluation



Project Area Land Use Plan

A Master Land Use Plan for the LeFleur Lakes project was developed by Duany Plater-Zyberk &
Company of Miami, Florida (DPZ), following a series of public charrettes, which identified issues
and needs of the project. Four
distinct plans addressing the
principal concerns were
generated and presented at the
final charrette meeting on March
12, 2007. From these four
plans and subsequent
discussions following the
charrette, the Lower Lake plan
was created and presented in
the Master Plan Document
dated February 2008. The
Lower Lake plan is comprised of
a single lake within the existing
levee system. The lake will be
framed by development on both
sides and contain two islands
accessible by existing Jackson
and Rankin county roads. This
plan also includes a proposal for
the development of a waterfront
pedestrian promenade on Town
Creek, similar to that of San
Antonio’s Riverwalk.

The development along the

shoreline and islands is
proposed to be mixed-use
Figure 2. Lower Lake Master Land Use Plan prepared by DPZ in neighborhoods consisting of
2007 and adapted by MSEG in 2009.
single-family and multi-family

LeFleur Lakes Economic Impact Evaluation

housing, retail, and commercial properties, as well as parks

and civic spaces, a marina facing downtown Jackson, and a
series of parks along the levees. These neighborhoods are The Regulating Plan: Consists of a
map precisely showing the zoning
designed to enhance a multi-use experience where categories as well as the location of
commercial, park, and civic destinations are within walking public open spaces. Thoroughfares
are also indicated on this map.
distance of the residences. Some neighborhoods will retain a
Lower Lake Code includes: Rural
high-density, urban feel, while others will retain a more Reserve (T1), Recreational/Civic
spacious, residential feel. This is achieved by the use of a (T2), Sub-Urban (T3), General
Urban (T4) and Urban Center (T5).
common zoning system using a “Transect”. A “Transect” is “a
system of classification deploying the conceptual range rural- The Urban Standards Document:
to-urban to arrange in useful order the typical elements of Regulates the aspect of private
buildings which will affect the public
urbanism”. The Transect is divided into zoning categories: realm. This standard will define the
Rural, Sub-Urban, General Urban, Urban Center and Urban streetscape and building use by
Core. The Transect Technique is derived from ecological zoning category with an emphasis on
mixed-use when possible.
analysis where it is applied to present the sequence of natural
habitat from shore-dune-upland or wetland-woodland-prairie. The Thoroughfare Standards
A matrix of drawings, specifications,
A code was developed to guide the architecture of the Lower
and dimensions that assembles
Lake Plan to “assure that all new building structures would be vehicular and pedestrian ways into
harmonious with each other and within the language of the sets, specialized in both capacity and
traditional architecture of Mississippi”, while maintaining a
vision of a mixed-use neighborhood with equal opportunities The Architectural Standards
for pedestrian traffic, parks, and civic spaces.
Specifically defines the type of
material and configurations of walls,
The code was also created to address specific stakeholder roofs, openings, and facades in
issues such as: order to maintain visual
compatibility among the buildings of
the neighborhoods and to retain the
• The neighborhood is limited in size by a five-minute ‘building traditions’ of the region.
walking distance from edge to center;
• Residences, shops, workplaces, and civic buildings
are included in close proximity;
• A variety of streets and sidewalks serve the needs of
both the pedestrian and the automobile; Figure 3. Lower Lake Code, DPZ, 2007.
• Public open spaces in the form of squares, parks and
playgrounds provide places for informal social activity
and recreation; and

Final Presentation, LeFleur Lakes Charrette, DPZ, March 2007.

LeFleur Lakes Economic Impact Evaluation

• Building frontages are designed and aligned in a manner that is visually appealing.

The Lower Lake Code consists of four documents, integrating to achieve the desired effect, and
are described in Figure 3.

Foundational Infrastructure

The Lower Lake Plan consists of a combination of the Corps’ NED/levee plan in conjunction with
a proposed “lower lake,” providing necessary flood protection while also allowing for substantial
economic development opportunities. The realization of the desired commercial and residential
uses planned to accompany the implementation of the Lower Lake Plan is dependent not only on
the development of the appropriate flood control measures, but also the development of the
necessary backbone infrastructure to include water, wastewater and transportation. The
conceptual opinion of cost of implementing these basic public infrastructure components is
approximately $100 million.

Recreational Assessment

The Mississippi State University Department of Landscape Architecture prepared a recreation

planning report in order to provide an assessment of existing recreational facilities that will be
impacted by the project, as well as provide recommendations for recreation opportunities that
may be provided. This report also includes an assessment of the application of the Mississippi
Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan (SCORP) to the recreational planning
component of the project.

The report identifies five recreational facilities in the vicinity of the project that potentially could be
impacted by construction of the proposed lake. Two properties identified, The Mississippi
Museum of Natural Science and the LeFleur’s Bluff State Park Campgrounds and Nature trails,
currently include land that may be impacted by the project. Identified facilities that could be
impacted are described as follows:

The Report made many recommendations and guidelines for recreation planning, a few of the
notable recommendations are:

LeFleur Lakes Economic Impact Evaluation

• Provide recreation destinations for

residents of the Jackson metropolitan
area as well as for tourists and
• Provide non-vehicular access
between proposed recreation areas
and the city infrastructure to facilitate
and encourage active pedestrian
circulation while maintaining
connectivity to the surrounding urban
environment – don’t let interstates
and highways stand as boundaries
between the lake and the city;
• Create recreation spaces that
accommodate all age ranges;
• Remain environmentally sensitive to
natural areas around the proposed
lake’s boundaries; while part of the
lake’s purpose is obviously economic
stimulation through new
development, the entire lake edge should not be developed; rather, green corridors
should remain to facilitate movement of wildlife and offer opportunities for the enjoyment
of natural areas;
• Provide educational opportunities within recreational areas in regard to the local ecology
of the Pearl River Basin on which the lake will be located; this complements the existing
education opportunities offered by the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science and helps
maintain a thematic element throughout the recreation facilities of the Lower Lake
• Seek to distinguish recreational opportunities at Ross Barnett Reservoir by highlighting
the more urban character of the Lower Lake – the project could increase the city’s public
open space and offer additional opportunities for public gatherings, concerts, and other

These recommendations encourage a high amount of public involvement in the process in order
to identify the demands and needs of the community. Factors such as identifying access points
to recreation areas, identifying potential locations for recreational areas and greenways, as well
as examining routes linking the recreational areas are discussed.

LeFleur Lakes Economic Impact Evaluation

Issues Impacting Development

Also included in the recreation planning report is a report detailing environmental justice issues
associated with the project. The report (prepared by Jeffery A. Ballweber of Colorado State
University) details past efforts and federal regulations and is designed to avoid negative
environmental and public health impacts on minority and low-income populations. The report
recommends that the Foundation:

1. Take an active role in ensuring that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers fully satisfies both
the CEQ Guidelines on Environmental Justice and its own Environmental Justice policies
and procedures; and
2. Take a leadership role, wherever practical, in the project’s planning process to follow
recommendations for nonfederal Environmental Justice compliance.

Further recommendations to achieve these goals are outlined in the report.

Figure 4. Museum of Natural Science Nature Trail

LeFleur Lakes Economic Impact Evaluation


Market-Based Analysis

A market analysis was prepared for the Lower Lake project by Economics Research Associates
(ERA) located in Washington, DC. The report was prepared as an analysis of demographic and
economic conditions of the project area and to develop projections of the likely demand for
various land uses that would be stimulated by the project. The specific land uses targeted in this
report were single-family and multi-family residential, commercial office, retail, and hotels. The
projections in the report are based on a 30-year horizon and focus on a corridor surrounding the
project area consisting primarily of Hinds and Rankin counties, with some analysis of Madison

In estimating demand potential, the study area consists of approximately a one-mile radius on
either side of the proposed lake, an area encompassing parts of downtown Jackson as well as
existing development along Interstate 55, Highway 80, and other major developed areas within
the one-mile proximity.

The report outlines key demographic and economic trends such as population, gender, age,
income, households and household size, rental vs. ownership rates, migration into and out of the
study area, permit activity, employment trends, industry concentration, tourism and recreation,
hotel market conditions, and real estate/office/retail/hotel demand estimates in the area. Using
these data, ERA concluded the following:

• Annual demand for housing in the study area is expected to total 150-200 single-family for
sale units per year, 75-100 multi-family for sale units per year, and 150-200 multi-family rental
units per year;
• Supportable office demand in the area is expected to total 60,000 to 90,000 square feet (net)
per year;
• A demand for retail space is expected to total 800,000 to 850,000 square feet over a 20-year
period; it is noted that this demand could increase if special opportunities emerge to create a
regional retail or entertainment destination; and
• Projected hotel demands in the area suggest that three to five hotels may be placed in the
project area.

LeFleur Lakes Economic Impact Evaluation

Single-Family Demand

The report defined the target market for single-family residential real estate demand to be those
households with earnings in an affordability range beginning at approximately $200,000 per unit.
Within this targeted segment, four primary sources of demands for single-family residential
development were identified:

1. Households living in the region, including renters;

2. Buyers seeking a mixed-used living environment/”town center” and/or lake-front
3. Retirees and empty-nesters as well as potential second-home buyers; and
4. Starter couples and families.

Based on the analysis of single-family demand for housing in the area, it is estimated that the
LeFleur Lake project could capture 15% of the total annual demand within the market.

Multi-Family Demand

For-Sale Demand

Analyzing Hinds, Rankin, and Madison counties’ demand for for-sale multifamily housing, it is
projected that between 250 and 300 eligible households annually would be in this market area. A
conservative estimated is that the project could capture approximately 25% of the demand. This
figure represents an annual absorption of 75-100 multifamily units per year, or approximately 6 to
8 units per month.

For-Rent Demand

The Market Analysis also predicated demand for rental units on the availability of a high-quality
product with significant amenities. The target market for rental units would include potential
residents earning more than $35,000 per year, comprised primarily of young working
professionals or older childless households. The majority of these renters would be those
primarily already living in the area and seeking lake-front or a mixed-use/ “town-center” living
environment. Considering the available market segment in the area, it is estimated that the
LeFleur Lake project could capture 25% of area demand for high-quality rental housing,
generating a demand of 150 to 200 new rental units per year.

Commercial Demand

LeFleur Lakes Economic Impact Evaluation

Office Market

The analysis found employment growth in the region to be relatively strong for office space
demand, particularly for the service industry while total employment in the area is expected to
grow by 140,000 jobs through 2030. Currently, 30% of the region’s employment is contained
along the floodplain corridor and could grow to reach 40%. It is estimated the LeFleur Lakes
study area could capture 50 to 70 percent of future employment growth in the corridor which
would create a demand range for office space of 83,000 to 116,000 square feet of new office
space annually.

Retail Demand
ERA found employment growth
in the region to be relatively
In determining demand for retail space, Hinds and
strong for office space
Rankin County spending patterns were analyzed
demand, particularly for the
and retail sales were categorized by segments.
service industry while total
Capture rates were determined per retail category
employment in the area is
and then compared to productivity estimates for
expected to grow by 140,000
each of these categories developed by the Urban
jobs through 2030.
Land Institute shopping center surveys. Based on
this analysis, retail demand for the LeFleur Lakes
study area can range from 800,000 to 850,000
square feet. This retail square footage includes grocery and convenience stores, eating and
drinking establishments, apparel, services, and entertainment venues.

Hotel Demand

Hotel demand in the Jackson metro area is driven less by tourist markets than by employment
related business, a market expected to increase due to potential convention business. A demand
was identified of 109 new hotel rooms per year through 2030 in the Jackson metro area with an
estimated capture rate for the LeFleur Lakes area of roughly 10-20 percent of hotel demand. The
Jackson metro hotel market has increased by 3.84 percent per year since 2000, and assuming
this continued trend, the analysis estimates the LeFleur Lakes area has the potential to capture
three to five new hotels.

LeFleur Lakes Economic Impact Evaluation

Further information, including graphical representations of findings and supporting data, can be
found in the LeFleur Lakes Market Analysis prepared by Economics Research Associates
(Appendix B).

Benefit-Cost Analysis

A cost-benefit analysis of the Lower Lake Plan was developed in April 2009. This Evaluation was
conducted to determine the total fiscal benefits derived both annually as well as over the plan’s
projected 30-year build-out. In conducting its analysis, several key factors were focused on

• Physical, social, and economic framework of the project

• Market and development opportunities
• How project planning drives economic development
• Project’s ability to attract private capital
• Public return on investment.

The analysis determined that over the next 30 years, the project has the potential to be a
transformative economic force within the affected region, shifting current land use to a vibrant
mixed-use community with high-value retail services and public amenities. To arrive at this
finding, A conceptual program was developed for the project that could be anticipated by demand
within the regional market. The investments included in this conceptual program are identified in
Figure 6. Additionally, the Lower Lake plan proposes an investment of $605 million in
infrastructure necessary to support this or a similar development program and is illustrated in
Figure 7.

7,572 Single Family and Multifamily Housing Units

100,000 Square Feet of Retail Space
180,000 Square Feet of Office Space
Two Hotels Offering 230 Rooms

Figure 5. Conceptual Investments Supported by Project

LeFleur Lakes Economic Impact Evaluation

Figure 6. Infrastructure Cost

PROJECT  Cost Estimate 
Levee Stabilization/Expansion  $205 million 
Lake Construction  $250 million 
Property Acquisition  $50 million 
Utilities, Roads, Water, Wastewater  $100 million 
Total  $605 million 

Return on Private Investment

Based on these opinions of probable cost and revenue projections, the Benefit-Cost Analysis
determined the Lower Lake project could generate $10.2 million per year, arriving at a net present
value of the leasehold revenue value (over the projected 30-year build-out) of nearly $220 million.
Considering this determination, it is estimated that a positive revenue return on private investment
could be achieved by year six of project implementation.

Annual Benefits to Local Governments

In addition to the private investment, the project would result in a significant ongoing funding
stream for local and state governments through sales and property taxes. The analysis estimates
an annual assessed construction value of approximately $168.3 million, generating $17.2 million
each year. Additionally, the analysis determined annual revenues generated by hotels,
restaurants, and retail of $38.1
Annual Property Taxes    million, which may provide an
additional $3 million annually in

Hinds County  $9.6 million  sales taxes for the Cities of

Rankin County  $7.6 million  Jackson and Flowood and to the

State of Mississippi. These
Sub‐Total  $17.2 million 
estimated revenue streams are
Annual Sales Taxes   
shown in Figure 8.
City of Jackson  $343,000 
City of Flowood  $344,000 

State of Mississippi  $2.3 million 
Sub‐Total  $2,987,000 

Figure 7. Projected Tax Benefits

LeFleur Lakes Economic Impact Evaluation

Employment Benefits

Finally, the ERA Benefit-Cost Analysis provides multiple estimates for employment benefits and
payrolls that will be generated through construction jobs created by the project as well as
permanent employment estimates resulting from projected developments within the project area.
During the course of the project’s build-out, 862 full-time annual construction jobs are projected
representing an annual payroll of approximately $443.5 million. Additionally, permanent jobs
created by new office, retail, and hotel activity is estimated to be approximately 700, with an
annual payroll of $31.5 million. Permanent employment estimates and annual payrolls projected
for both Rankin and Hinds Counties are detailed in Figure 9.

Retail     90  90 
Hotel     91  91 
Office (Administrative/Management)     233  100 
Projected Payroll     $20 million  $11.5 million 
Figure 8. Employment Estimates and Payroll Projections

Additional information regarding the benefit-cost estimates for the project can be found in the
Lower Lake Plan Cost-Benefit Analysis (Appendix C).

LeFleur Lakes Economic Impact Evaluation


Options for Public and Private Funding

Key considerations when assessing the options for public and private funding are:

• The island must be publicly held / held by board

• Lake periphery property could be publicly or privately held / controlled
• The DPZ overlay plan must be adopted in order to direct the scale and form of
• The project’s initial capital investment will require local, state, and federal funds
to attract/leverage private investment.

The Lower Lake project team developed a “Sources and Uses” summary which illustrates the
likely costs of the project as well as the potential sources of funding for the costs. An estimated
$605 million in upfront costs for levee stabilization, lake construction, property acquisition, and
core infrastructure (utilities) is expected. The majority of these costs are expected to fall on the
public sector. Potential sources of funding identified by the Lower Lake project team is as

• Development impact fees, special assessment district, and public improvement

district. (utilities/infrastructure)
• U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and local sponsor funds (levee expansion).
• State of Mississippi Major Economic Impact Fund/payment-in-lieu of taxes,
special assessment district, and public improvement district. (lake development)
• Directed Congressional appropriations for infrastructure construction.
• New fiscal mechanisms to pool intergovernmental funds from an array of federal,
state, and local sources.
• Directed regional ad valorem assessments for project development.
• Potential leasehold rental income from island and lake periphery.

LeFleur Lakes Economic Impact Evaluation

The “Sources and Uses” of funding are identified in Figure 10 below.

Figure 9. Sources and Uses of Funding

ERA also noted that approximately $17.2 million in real property tax revenues and $960,000 in
local sales and lodgings tax revenues are expected to be generated by the projects new
construction. A portion of these tax revenues could be tapped to support local infrastructure

After construction and implementation of the project, revenue will begin to flow. However, as with
any venture where new businesses and dwellings become available, it will require some time for
occupancy to occur. Consequently during the early stages of the project the net revenue will be
negative because debt requirement payments will be greater than income revenue. However, is
year six of the project, income from revenue begins to exceed debt payments and from this point
on our projections are for positive income (Figure 11).

LeFleur Lakes Economic Impact Evaluation

Figure 10. Net Positive Revenue

Governmental and Institutional Organization

The Lower Lake Plan Cost Benefit Analysis report (Appendix C) offered several
recommendations that offer alternatives for developing the most appropriate governmental and
institutional organization to ensure effective plan implementation through project build-out.
Specifically, the report recommends the core of the project organization reside with the Flood
Control District for management and implementation authority while the LeFleur Lakes
Development Foundation would act as a planning and advisory resource. Under this scenario,
the Foundation would establish an advisory committee to establish and offer recommendations
regarding project management and implementation, operation, and finance. The Foundation
would serve as a voice to influential and governmental officials while helping the Flood Control
District to avoid political and other influences which might hamper project implementation and
development. Traditional municipal and county services should be provided based on existing

LeFleur Lakes Economic Impact Evaluation

political boundaries, or, as otherwise provided via legislative or inter-local agreement. In order to
enable equitable distribution of financial benefits and costs, consideration should be given to the
creation of a Financial Overlay District to allow incremental sharing amongst the governmental
entities associated with the project. A number of legislatively enacted governance models are
available for consideration if the creation of such a district is pursued.

Recommendations for Implementation

• Land acquisition is a priority, and the managing

organization must have control of property, especially that
which could impede development; if acquisition is not
feasible, every attempt should be made to consolidate
• Public involvement in the planning and development process
is vital to help explain projects and mitigate concerns
• The managing organization must closely monitor demand
for project uses and be flexible to alter project plans if
strong demand is not apparent; close attention must be paid
to the market
• The development must create an identity and be unified;
projects should complement one another

The analysis offers a number of recommendations key to implementation, focusing on the

predicate that strong community support will be critical to instituting successful development.
These important keys include the points identified in Figure 12.

Figure 11. Key implementation considerations

LeFleur Lakes Economic Impact Evaluation

To establish a structure to properly finance the project, ownership and/or control of certain
properties is fundamental. Specifically, it is recommended that the Flood Control District own or
control the island properties and suggests that the non-island waterfront property surrounding the
lake could be either publicly or privately controlled, subject to the requirements imposed by the

• General obligation bonds

• Congressional appropriations for major improvements
• Fiscal mechanisms to pool state and federal funds
• Creation of public improvement districts to fund improvements and
• Regional fiscal assessments for infrastructure, improvements, and

US Army Corps of Engineers in reference to the integrity of the flood control operations. With
these requirements in place, recommendations are made for financial resources for funding the
project’s components as identified in Figure 13, noting the potential for State and Federal
financing assistance.

Figure 12. Potential funding sources


A public involvement plan was developed by AJA Management & Technical Services, Inc. (AJA)
which outlines the steps to unveil and promote the Lower Lake Project to the public to “broadly
share as much information as possible”. This is intended to increase public awareness and
confidence in the Lower Lake concept. Emphasis should be placed on the primary purpose of the
undertaking, which is flood control and flood damage reduction, which in turn creates the
opportunity for economic development and quality of life enhancements in the area.

The plan calls for public meetings in each municipality situated within the project area (The cities
of Jackson, Flowood, Pearl, and Richland). These meetings would be supplemented by public
awareness campaigns to include extensive educational and informational materials for
stakeholders, web pages for convenient access to planned events and accumulated materials
about project plans, and a cumulative history of past public and committee meetings with brief
summaries if deemed necessary. The campaign would also be designed to educate and keep

LeFleur Lakes Economic Impact Evaluation

the public aware of the project’s progress as well as the positive and negative impacts it may
have on employment opportunities, quality of life enhancements, and the local tax base.


Set forth previously herein, the comprehensive assessment of the impact for development of a

lake feature contained as a part of a cost-effective flood control plan can produce significant

economic impact and quality of life enhancement for the Jackson Metropolitan Area, while

effectively serving its basic flood control mission. The analysis of the Lower Lake Plan reveals

significant impact opportunities to transform the Jackson Metropolitan Area into a true destination

community augmenting the ongoing efforts for economic development and quality of life

improvement in the municipal and county venues impacted thereby. Further, the concepts

developed by DPZ and evaluated by ERA reveal the significant complimentary relationship of the

Lower Lake concept with development on Town Creek in Hinds County as well as other

tributaries which flow into the Pearl River within the project reach. As noted throughout this

evaluation, the independent reviews and input of world-recognized centers of expertise in the

areas of New Urbanism, Environmental Justice and objective analyses of economic and

environmental feasibility, codified hereinabove constitute a strong case for a feasible and

implementable project undertaking pursuant to which resources from multiple areas of public and

private kind can be attracted and incorporated in a manner which will likely result in a win-win for

all involved participating entities.

While generally discussed in the various volumes of this evaluation, it should be noted that

utilization of existing resources including municipal utilities, zoning and public safety appears

logical; however, legislative issues/needs have been identified involving the current authority of

the Flood Control District, including creation of a companion entity with a legal capability to more

clearly provide economic development related investments in conjunction with flood control.

The firm and unyielding consensus of opinion within the MSEG Team, including its critical

partners Duany Plater-Zyberk & Company (DPZ) and Economic Research Associates (AECOM),

LeFleur Lakes Economic Impact Evaluation

provides the foundation for further evaluation and determination of this potentially transformative


While focusing significantly on the importance of public and private cooperation and investment,

the thorough vetting of the institutional issues associated with creation of an implementation

authority capable of such an undertaking, it was determined that the “Pearl River Valley Water

Supply District” model might, in fact, have applicability subject to clear and defined lines of

responsibility with existing municipal and county roles and responsibilities particularly in the areas

of enterprise utilities, public safety and related traditional public services.