Zoning change allows law firm to expand location

By HASKEL BURNS,

A zoning change recently approved by the Petal Board of Aldermen will allow the staff of a Petal law firm to relocate their business to a new location on South Main Street with the intention of expanding in downtown Petal.

During last week’s board meeting, aldermen voted to approve a zoning change at 419 South Main St. from residential to commercial to permit Londeree & Townsend LLC, Attorneys and Counsellors at Law to move from their current location on East Central Avenue to the new site. The building, which is across the street from Petal United Methodist Church, is a former residential home.

“We’ve enjoyed a great deal of success in Petal,” said Phillip Londeree, who owns the firm with his law partner, Chris Townsend. “Heretofore, we’ve been renting the property on East Central Avenue, and now we have a grander and more fantastic scheme (in mind).”

Londeree and Townsend are planning several changes to the 2,000-square-foot building to expand their business, including significantly enlarging the driveway to provide additional parking. The attorneys have obtained the services of local architects Kevin Lewis and Allen Flynt, who will provide them with grading, drainage and waterflow information.

Londeree said the inside of the building has already been brought into compliance with most of the city’s requirements, including the presence of smoke alarms, fire extinguishers and electrical checks. Londeree expects to soon install a restroom in the building that is compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, along with a wheelchair lift in an area that currently houses as a carport.

Plans have also been made to remove the carport in order to expand the facility, with the addition of a conference room, more office space and larger restrooms.

“Over the course of the immediate future … we will, of course, do a few other minor things,” Londeree said. “We’re probably going to expand the brick pathway that leads to the front of the building, and we’ll put in … attractive signage in front of the building, which will look tentatively the same as the other commercial signage that’s on the property.”

Londeree and Townsend also are looking to acquire a piece of property just south of the building, which is currently owned by Petal United Methodist Church, to manage future parking needs.

“So we’re looking to the future, with the interest of potentially expanding our operation,” Londeree said. “More than anything, we’re proud to have the opportunity to continue doing business in Petal, and to make a very significant investment in the commercial presence on Main Street.”

Mayor Hal Marx said he thinks the law firm’s move to Main Street will be beneficial to the city, as professional office spaces are the future of downtown Petal.

“That will hopefully keep other things in the downtown area,” he told Londeree. “We know a lot of big stores like to go out on the (Evelyn) Gandy (Parkway), which we can’t do anything to stop that.

“But hopefully we have folks like you, young professionals, who want to stay in the older part of town and help keep that revitalized, and that’ll be good for us.”