CottonMill TIF change request delayed until March

February 20, 2013 9:57:17 AM

Carl Smith - [email protected]


The Starkville Board of Aldermen approved amendments to a potential Community Development Block Grant application associated with the project formerly known as CottonMill and its proposed $8 million parking facility Tuesday. 


Columbus developer Mark Castleberry, who previously said he would seek a 15-year, $3.25 million tax increment financing (TIF) agreement for infrastructure improvements associated with the project - now dubbed "The Mill" - confirmed documents for the request were not finalized Tuesday and should be presented in March. 


The TIF will utilize 75 percent of ad valorem and sales tax returns for debt payments, Castleberry said. A previous TIF agreement with the former project's developer, Mark Nicholas, was for 95 percent of taxes. 


Following Tuesday's meeting, Starkville Mayor Parker Wiseman said the city will issue a memorandum of agreement with Castleberry while the entities pursue the grant. This memorandum, he said, assures the Mississippi Development Authority that the project is moving on track. 


The city will also hold public hearings on the development in the future, but dates were not set Tuesday. 


The board's agenda listed Castleberry's request as an economic development matter which would be taken up in executive session at the end of the meeting. Aldermen moved the request up to the beginning of the meeting and went behind closed doors for almost an hour. 


Besides Wiseman confirming the board's one official action on the development, no other public discussions were held on the matter. 


Development representatives, including Castleberry, were in attendance Tuesday, along with Golden Triangle Development LINK Vice President Joey Deason. Deason also serves as Oktibbeha County's economic developer. 


Castleberry's project focuses on transforming Mississippi State University's historic Cooley Building into a conference center, constructing a nearby hotel and developing business parcels in the land adjacent to the university's old physical plant. 


Once financing packages are agreed upon, Castleberry said last week, he will finalize master plans and move into developing construction documents. Hurdles still exist for conference center's final plans in regard to the structure's historic designation by the National Parks Services, he said last week.

Carl Smith covers Starkville and Oktibbeha County for The Dispatch. Follow him on Twitter @StarkDispatch