Cotton Mill project in Starkville stalls over details

By Patsy R. Brumfield/NEMS Daily Journal

STARKVILLE – Cotton Mill Market Place project, anticipated as perhaps the most expansive retail and office development in the city’s history, may take a little longer than thought.
Negotiations have started over on a new contract between its developers, Comvest Properties of Biloxi and Nicholas Properties LLC of Ridgeland, and Mississippi State University, which owns the focal property – the Cooley Building, the former Stone Cotton Mill listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
In April, the developer’s offer to purchase the Cooley and Russell Street property from MSU was extended until May 30 by the state Board of Trustees of the Institutions of Higher Learning.
IHL, which runs the state’s public universities, approved the 10-acre property sale last October.
But the devil’s in the details, and differences continue over “a lot of stipulations,” said MSU spokeswoman Marideth Geuder on Monday.
Repeated efforts by the Daily Journal to reach Mike McGrevey, MSU’s vice president for business affairs, were unsuccessful.
“The negotiations that are under way at this time pertain to a new contract,” said Wendy Barthe Peavy, Comvest’s marketing and public policy director.
Peavy said, meanwhile, their leasing representatives continue recruiting retail prospects.
She said that work will “bring us closer to ground breaking and a grand opening.”
In the spring of 2008, Cotton Mill Market Place’s plans were announced to city and county officials:
– 957,600 square feet of retail, restaurant, office, hotel and conference center facilities.
– On 25 acres bordered to the east and south by Highway 12, west by Spring street and north by Russell street and existing commercial property.
– $216 million mixed-use facilities.
– Courtyard by Marriott.
– Residential housing.
MSU uses the Cooley Building for its physical plant.
Developers promote the project as a $90 million annual economic impact on the city and surrounding area.
They also estimate adding up to 1,000 permanent jobs and $450,000 a year to local sales tax revenues.