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Weidmann's Square project recruits potential investors

By By Steve Gillespie/The Meridian Star
Aug. 30, 2001
A group of local businessmen is formally recruiting potential investors willing to put up at least $20,000 each toward the purchase and renovation of the historic Weidmann's Restaurant in downtown Meridian.
Fred Wile, Bruce Martin, Rick Snowden and Myles Frank are the chief sponsors of a privately-held corporation called Weidmann's Square LLC. They hope to renovate and transform the Meridian landmark into a major downtown attraction.
Purchasing and renovating the restaurant could cost about $1.6 million. Weidmann's Square sponsors hope to persuade investors to buy at least 50 units at $20,000 each toward the project; sponsors are authorized to sell up to 83 units.
Wile's group is currently planning meetings with potential investors. Money invested in the project will remain in an escrow account until they purchase the restaurant, he said.
The group initially pitched the idea to purchase Weidmann's at an invitation-only meeting last month. More than 75 people attended, including actress Sela Ward and Mississippi State President Malcolm Portera, both of whom have played a role in downtown revitalization efforts.
Once purchased, renovation of the restaurant would take about nine months, according to the private placement memorandum. When finished, Wile's group would lease the restaurant to Nick Apostle, who owns the upscale Nick's Restaurant in Jackson.
Plans call for a casual menu at the renovated Weidmann's, with entrees ranging from $12-$21 and a specialty menu with items priced from $24-$34. The restaurant would feature a second-floor bar and two banquet rooms for private parties.
Interest in buying Weidmann's Restaurant was sparked by word that current owners Poo and Gloria Chancellor were considering retirement. Wile called the restaurant, established in 1870, a mainstay of downtown Meridian.
Steve Gillespie is a staff writer for The Meridian Star. Call him at 693-1551, ext. 3233, or e-mail him at sgillespie@themeridianstar.com.

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