This rendering shows developer Mark Castleberry's 550 Russell project. The development, which broke ground Thursday, features eight luxury condominiums atop 15,000 square feet of commercial space. Photo by: Courtesy image
August 18, 2017 10:12:34 AM
Two new mixed-use projects at differing stages of development near Mississippi State University's campus took steps toward becoming a reality in Starkville Thursday.
Developers broke ground on 550 Russell, which features eight luxury condominiums atop 15,000 square feet of commercial space, and announced two anchor restaurants -- Gondolier Italian Restaurant and Pizza and Mugshots Bar and Grill --will occupy the $6 million project when it opens in May.
Additionally, the State College Board approved a pre-development agreement between MSU and Memphis-based Realty Trust (EdR) that could potentially add 1,600 bed spaces and commercial space at the site of the former Aiken Village campus housing area.
"I am eager to watch the development of the areas close to campus. It is important to the urban side of our city as we seek to encourage the walkability that infill development allows," said Mayor Lynn Spruill. "College View and Russell Street offer new options. Starkville has the luxury of being both 'a little bit country and a little bit rock and roll,' and we do so without the loss of quality and character as we go forward."
College View gets early OK
Although the College View plan is still subject to final negotiations and review by the Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning, early plans call for 650 bed spaces to be ready in fall of 2019, with 950 additional spaces to be added in future phases.
The development will also feature space for retailers and restaurants, an outdoor entertainment area, day care services and parking.
Under a working agreement, EdR will finance, build and manage the development under a 40-year land lease with the university that includes a 10-year renewal option, while MSU receives a portion of its revenue.
"As our campus and enrollment continues to grow, we believe there is potential with College View to create a truly unique project for the state, benefiting our students, faculty and staff, as well as alumni, local residents and visitors," MSU President Mark Keenum said in a release.
EdR owns or manages 83 communities with more than 44,000 beds serving 52 universities in 25 states. It previously partnered with the University of Kentucky on a similar, $450 million project.
550 breaks ground
Area developer Mark Castleberry's 550 Russell project might not be the biggest mixed-use development in Starkville, but he says it features top-tier luxury and technological offerings that set it apart from others.
Its location on the ever-developing Russell Street corridor, dubbed the "front door to the university," is also a big selling point, he said.
"We're very supportive of the improvements being made on Russell Street, and we're incorporating many of those new features, like outdoor seating, into the development," he said. "We're very encouraged by the pedestrian improvements being made to the area and are very encouraged by the amount of people that will be walking and biking up and down Russell Street after these improvements are completed. Even aesthetically speaking, the entire area will be so much better."
After commitments from Gondolier's and Mugshots, only 1,500 square feet of retail space remain available in the development, Castleberry said. He hopes to have a final retail tenant in place in the coming months, he said.
Castleberry's Mill at MSU conference center, with its almost 600 parking spaces, will be available for restaurant and retail patrons.
As for the development's condominium units, each will come with its own reserved parking spot. Those units, which start at $470,250 for two bedrooms and $491,040 for three bedrooms, will also feature smart home technology, C Spire fiber internet connections, private balconies and access to pool and workout amenities at Castleberry's Courtyard by Marriot hotel.
Castleberry also controls a 1-acre site near the Mill at MSU development that he hopes to develop for a 5,000-square-foot restaurant in the future.
Carl Smith covers Starkville and Oktibbeha County for The Dispatch. Follow him on Twitter @StarkDispatch
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