Some of the buildings, like the former McDonald's restaurant on South Gloster, were vacated for better locations. Hudson Management, which owns Tupelo and regional McDonald's franchises, moved operations to a new location on South Gloster and President Street, and no jobs were lost.
The McDonald's corporation owns the older structure, Tupelo's first McDonald's, which opened in 1973, and its future is expected to be determined soon.
Growth and the standard rule of real estate - location, location, location - led to some of the vacant properties in Tupelo. Former occupants followed the traffic of their patrons to a better place, but that doesn't necessarily mean some other business would not thrive in the spaces left empty.
Vacancies usually don't become a problem if buildings are maintained and remain marketable. It's expensive, but it frequently pays off in the long term when the right buyer or renter finds the property.
One of Tupelo's most visible vacant spaces is the crumbling and overgrown campus of the former Natchez Trace Inn and Country Hearth Hotel on West Main at the Natchez Trace Parkway. After decades as a thriving business it changed hands, its fortunes sliding downhill.
The city of Tupelo would like to buy the property because the real estate occupies a prime site, but razing the fast-deteriorating buildings would cost about $90,000.
Some cities have formed special task forces or commissions to deal with vacant properties, and some cities, especially in downtown concentrations, have been able to revitalize.
Tupelo's vacant and/or abandoned properties are spread in all directions across the city but especially on major thoroughfares where traffic patterns have changed.
A still-developing plan for revitalizing Tupelo's middle class neighborhoods almost certainly would help in bringing new businesses to some of the vacant properties.
Some of the relocations led to other relocations: Lowe's moved to North Gloster, and Metro Ford moved from South Gloster to the former Lowe's on Barnes Crossing Road; Tellini's refurbished a former Burger King on South Gloster; a former Walmart on South Gloster became a Wall's Bargain Center.
In some cities, academic and medical institutions have driven redevelopment and reclamation, including new occupants for vacant properties. The University of Pennsylvania, for example, stimulated investment in nearby Philadelphia off-campus neighborhoods in the 1990s.
The key is patient persistence - with a stronger economy.