STARKVILLE, Miss. (WCBI) – While the Starkville Cotton Mill Project is still on track, a new developer is coming on board that could mean a modified restructured approach.
For the last four years now a partnership goal has been to build a conference center, hotel, parking garage, and re develop the Old Cooley Building near the MSU campus.
The scope of the project has changed and a new developer is coming to the table.
“Of course the city of Starkville and Oktibbeha County have been involved as well as the Mississippi Development Authority. All of those agencies are going to continue to have a big interest in seeing this project happen,” said Parker Wiseman, Starkville Mayor.
MSU Vice President of Research and Development David Shaw is convinced, there is a sustainable market for a conference facility.
“With the growth of the university and with the lack of available space we had for a number of years now a very strong goal of being able to see a high quality large conference center developed,” said David Shaw, Vice President, Research & Development.
“And that means potential tourist in this community that would come in for a conference and spend money in the local economy. Right now we are not having the opportunity to do tat as much as they would,” added Wiseman.
Columbus developer Mark Castleberry submitted a proposal to do the project, thats after a previous contract with a Jackson businessman expired in April.
“And received proposals on September forth. From ah, interest was expressed by several groups. And we evaluated those and made the decision to begin negotiations with a new development group,” added Shaw.
Mark Nicholas of Nicholas Properties who wishes Castleberry well, still plans on developing his six acres near the former movie theatre. An uphill economic climb now has a goal of 120 days with the new Castleberry contract when signed.
“And we will do everything reasonably that we can to help facilitate this project,” said Wiseman.
As the partners move forward with the project, there will be no need for a referendum, and no new taxes to residents.