Mississippi State University has purchased Cadence Bank in downtown Starkville. The bank, located at the corner of Jackson Street and Main Street, will serve as an expansion of the Thad Cochran Research Park. Photo by: Alex Holloway/Dispatch Staff
May 16, 2019 10:42:31 AM
Mississippi State University will have a new downtown presence in Starkville after its affiliate Research and Technology Corporation closed on a deal to purchase Cadence Bank.
The university announced on Wednesday the MSU Research and Technology Corporation -- a 501(c)3 organized to facilitate relationships between MSU and its industrial affiliates -- purchased the bank branch at the corner of Main Street and Jackson Street. MSU will use the 33,000 square-foot property as a space to expand the Thad Cochran Research and Technology Park.
"This is essentially Phase II of the Cochran Research Park," said MSU Chief Communications Officer Sid Salter. "It provides an urban setting for entities that want to be able to operate with restaurants nearby, or in a location where their employees can bike to work -- that sort of stuff."
Salter said the Research and Technology Corporation has a non-disclosure agreement with Cadence that prevents the university from disclosing the property's purchase price. The Dispatch reported in December that the building was listed for sale for $2.5 million.
Cadence, which has occupied the bank branch location for more than 40 years, will sublet space in the facility while it begins construction on a new bank located on Russell Street behind Comfort Suites.
Salter said some renovation work will also need to be done on the bank, and the university estimates that could take about two years.
However, he said some new tenants will start moving into the facility before that two-year timeframe is up. He said MSU was not ready to announce any potential tenants on Wednesday.
"We don't want to steal the thunder of some of the folks who are moving downtown," Salter said. "We want to let them announce and do their outreach to the community as part of this."
Still, Salter said the new space can be a home for public or private entities, and he said the university has wanted to focus on providing space for new startup companies.
"One of the focuses is on startups whose tech has developed within the incubator of the research park," Salter said. "We've had good luck, historically, with those firms domiciling in the research park. We have outgrown what's in Phase I. This is a different way of doing things, but will meet a need we've heard from some of those companies that want a more urban downtown setting."
In a press release, Jerry Toney, president for Cadence Bank in Mississippi, said the bank was pleased to finalize the purchase of the branch.
"This speaks to the growth and progress of both our organizations and to a stronger, more vibrant Starkville," Toney said. "We are excited about what the future holds for our bank, our clients and our community as we begin construction on a new, modern facility on Russell Street."
The Cadence location has been in talks for sale multiple times in recent years, including in 2014-15, when the city of Starkville considered purchasing it to serve as Starkville Police Department's headquarters.
The deal, which would have seen the city purchase the bank for $2.55 million, ultimately fell through.
Mayor Lynn Spruill said the university's new presence in Cadence, along with MSU's makerspace that opened downtown earlier this year, emphasizes the close connection the city and university have developed through the years. She said she expects it will continue to help Starkville strengthen its business community.
"I think our relationship is excellent and has been for a while," Spruill said. "It's continuing to improve. We've gotten to the point of there being a seamless flow from the city to the university and back again. I'm hopeful that this will continue and we'll continue to have activity in the community and downtown that will add to our business atmosphere and bring more jobs."
Alex Holloway was formerly a reporter with The Dispatch.
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