Food World building could become cancer center

BY ANDY KANENGISER

Daily Journal

TUPELO – A group of doctors are buying the vacant Food World building on South Gloster Street and converting it into a cancer facility, city officials say.

The topic surfaced as Mayor Ed Neelly met Wednesday with city department heads.

City leaders applauded the move, but didn't give out a lot of details.

An official who works with North Mississippi Hematology and Oncology Associates, located on the second floor of the NMMC Cancer Center said several things remain in the planning stages and would not discuss specifics. While nothing has been finalized, he said he may have more to say in two weeks.

Using the Food World building that's been vacant for about two years “will be a real asset'' to the South Gloster Street area, said city planning director Pat Falkner.

“It would be quality construction that will be attractive,'' said City Council President Dick Hill after the meeting. “It will have a new front, new landscaping, parking and a lot of trees and plants,'' he said. “I received this as good news.''

The healthcare facility will have adequate parking, but fewer spaces than what was needed for the grocery store, Hill said.

“I'm elated that something is going in there,'' said councilman Bill Martin of Ward 5.

“Any use of vacant property on the southern end will not negatively impact the adjacent area,'' said Russ Wilson, chairman of the Tupelo Planning Committee. “It will be an improvement in principle.''

Wilson said he doesn't want to say much more until requests dealing with the property come before the committee at its July 10 meeting. The panel is expected to consider at least one request to pave the way to reduce parking spaces for the new facility.

There were discussions about a year ago about new ownership of the Food World property, Wilson said, but it never materialized.

Hill said the new use and construction at the building will add to other new developments in South Tupelo, including construction of the Santa Fe Cattle Co. steakhouse across from the Dossett Big 4 dealership on South Gloster.

Contact Daily Journal reporter Andy Kanengiser at 678-1590 or andy.kanengiser@djournal.com