Downtown Tupelo investment group in the works

By Carlie Kollath/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – The Downtown Tupelo Main Street Association board is looking into starting an investment group for the downtown district.
The idea popped up last summer at the board’s retreat and has resurfaced several times over the past few months.
Tuesday, board members heard from Belinda Stewart, who helped start an investment corporation in downtown Eupora.
“Our goal has been to renovate our town,” said Stewart, who is president of Belinda Stewart Architects. “Our goal was about making money but the first priority was saving our town. Put the money into our town and create something positive for our town. The No. 2 goal was to not lose money.”
The group, Early Grove Properties, got started about three years ago when seven investors got together and targeted a high-traffic corner in downtown.
Each investor put in an initial $5,000 and signed an agreement that money wouldn’t be taken out of the partnership for five years. The investment group got a bank loan to do the renovations.
The investors then bought several buildings on the targeted corner and started the renovations. Most of the properties now are leased as office space or retail space.
The key to making the group work, Stewart said, is finding good investors, picking the right buildings, getting the money to do the renovations and working in a market where there is a demand for space.
“Keep in mind that the goal is to help the community,” she advised. “ t can be a good investment, but it can be a truly good thing for the community.”
Debbie Brangenberg, executive director of Main Street, said she wants the group to move ahead with formulating the structure of the Tupelo investment group and then identifying projects.
For more information about the investment group, e-mail Brangenberg at debbieb@tupelomainstreet.com.

Contact Carlie Kollath at (662) 678-1598 or carlie.kollath@journalinc.com.