Residential rental market still growing

By Dennis Seid/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – About this time last year, the city’s newest apartment complexes had long waiting lists, spurred on mostly by an influx of Toyota-related workers.
The waiting lists have all but disappeared, but the rental supply is still growing.
One new set of apartments is scheduled to open this spring in Tupelo, and another one is in the planning stages.
Debbie Hall, the community manager of The Pines at Barnes Crossing in Tupelo, has leased all of her 200 apartments.
“As of today, we don’t have a single one available,” she said on Wednesday. “So we’ll probably have to go back to a waiting list.”
At the peak of demand last year, the Pines had scores of people waiting to get in.
“It was tight pretty much the whole year,” Hall said.
Nearby, Vista Ridge Apartments had more than 100 waiting to get one of the 160 units there last year.
Patty Forsyth, the property manager of Vista Ridge, said her complex continues to do “very well.”
The waiting list is gone, but as of Wednesday, only two apartments were available.
Both The Pines at Barnes Crossing and Vista Ridge began leasing in 2009. They had been built in anticipation of a rush of construction workers and plant employees for Toyota’s manufacturing plant in Blue Springs, as well as for nearby suppliers.
With Toyota’s opening delayed until last October, filling the apartments took a little longer than expected. But by the fall of 2010, the units started filling fast.
Amenities like gated entrances, granite countertops, saltwater pools, garages, a more upscale feel, plus a “newness” factor contributed to the surge in demand for the new apartments.
Now, developers see the area continuing to grow as Toyota grows its operations and other manufacturers expand as the economy improves.
Off McCullough Boulevard, on Old Belden Circle in Tupelo, a 216-unit complex is under construction. Initially called Tupelo Trace Apartments, it will be named Boggan Estates when it opens. The complex takes its name from Thomas Kendall Boggan, who was a state senator from Tupelo in the early 1900s.
Traci Rogers, the regional operations manager for Management Resources Development, the apartment complex’s owner, said Boggan Estates is the East Lansing, Mich., company’s first development in Mississippi. MRD also has apartments in Alabama, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Texas.
“We’re excited to be there,” Rogers said.
Boggan Estates has six three-story buildings with 36 apartments each, totaling 216. They are a mix of one-bedroom or two-bedroom units.
“They’ll be very modern, with European styling,” she said.
The complex also will have a pool.
Rogers said MRD was conducting market research to determine how much rent to charge for the apartments, but said the prices would be “very competitive.”
Another set of apartments, The Mills at McCullough, to be built off McCullough Boulevard on Adams Farm Road, is in the planning stages.
Barry Allmon of the Renaissance Group in Lakeland, Tenn., said his company will build 150 units in the complex.
“We’re now going through all the review processes and hope to hear back within 30 days,” he said. “We hope to start construction within 60 to 90 days and then construction will take about 12 months.”
A few miles away in New Albany, another new apartment complex will open soon.
The first phase of Park Place Apartments, a 64-unit development, is set to open March 1, said property manager Suzann Watts.
“It’s made up of 24 one-bedroom, 32 two-bedroom and eight three-bedroom units,” she said. “We anticipate another 80 units to be built in the next few months.”
Park Place hasn’t actively promoted itself yet, but Watts said she’s been fielding calls from potential tenants.
“It’s been a good response,” she said, adding that the need for rental housing will continue to grow in the region.
dennis.seid@journalinc.com