Headhunter Arena In Works

A new arena in the works for Jackson, Miss., could be ready as early as the start of the arenafootball2 season in April, according to the man proposing to fund the project.

Greg Disotell, a Mississippi real estate developer, said all he’s waiting on is approval from Jackson’s mayor and the city council, according to the Clarion-Ledger.

Disotell has been negotiating with city and state officials, trying to move the af2’s Mississippi Headhunters from Biloxi to Jackson, according to the paper.

The proposed arena would cost an estimated $40 million, all of which Disotell said he would provide privately, and have 9,000-12,000 seats.

Disotell told the paper he’s waiting to hear on a potential deal to lease out the land that is currently used by 31-year-old Smith-Wills Stadium, a city-owned venue mostly used for baseball. Disotell said he feels “really good about things” and that it’s up to the mayor now.

Mayor Frank Melton recently told the Ledger that plans were in the works to tear down Smith-Wills and build a multipurpose venue on its site.

The Headhunter season was supposed to open in Biloxi this April, but Hurricane Katrina thwarted those plans. The team delayed its inaugural season until 2007.

Problems with current plans include four years remaining on a deal with the company that Smith-Wills is leased out to and the amount of time it would take to build the proposed arena.

Baseball Mississippi LLC, to which the city leases Smith-Wills, used to own the now-defunct Jackson Senators minor league baseball team. The company now schedules events such as little league, high school, college and semi-pro baseball, and football and soccer games.

The manager of Mississippi Baseball has said the company wants to do what’s best for the city, and also said he wants to honor current commitments.

Local architects told the paper putting up an arena such as the one proposed would likely take longer than a year. Any delays could force the Headhunters into the 43-year-old Mississippi Coliseum, which seats 7,200, according to the Ledger. Disotell said the arena would not be rushed, but that he thinks it could be ready to go in time.

Disotell bought the team when it played in Georgia as the Columbus Waterdogs.

The af2 is a feeder league for the Arena Football League. Its season runs from April to July.