In 1970, Mississippians were shopping at the City of Jackson’s first mall. The Jackson Mall was the largest, and most diverse mall within 400 miles of stores. It sat on some 900,000 square feet on 53 acres of land. In 1978 however, Metrocenter Mall opened in South Jackson, followed by Northpark Mall seven years later on the northern edge of the city. Shopping came to a standstill at the Jackson Mall as anchor stores moved out, taking customers and other businesses with them. As the ’80s came to a close, Jackson’s original retail mall was nearly an empty shell and its Midtown neighborhood was crumbling around it.
In 1995, Dr. Aaron Shirley, former project director for Mississippi’s largest community health center and a longtime resident of Midtown, was walking through the old mall’s echoing corridors when he conceived a plan to bring it and the surrounding community back to life. Dr. Shirley envisioned a comprehensive, mutidisciplinary healthcare complex. He proposed that the property be converted to a state-of-the-art ambulatory healthcare facility, providing quality healthcare for the underserved of Jackson, Mississippi. This ambitious vision for rebirth and renewal would be in Dr. Shirley’s words, “a community-based venture,” in terms of its ownership and mission.
Financial support from three prominent state banking institutions established the Jackson Medical Mall in 1996 and the Jackson Medical Mall Foundation (JMMF), which remains the management arm of the facility to this day. Dr. Shirley chaired the JMMF Board of Directors until his passing in 2014.
In 2001, the Mall became the Jackson Medical Mall Thad Cochran Center and continues to have a reputation for innovative management, efficiency of operations, and financial stability. The Medical Mall has become a national model for high-quality, efficient health care delivery for the underserved. Providers seek to ensure that obtaining services at the Medical Mall is a positive experience within a customer-friendly environment that is aesthetically pleasing. The Jackson Medical Mall Thad Cochran Center represents a true renaissance that will continue to improve and empower the lives of those who need it most.