STARKVILLE — Ground officially broke Thursday on Starkville’s newest shopping center.
Triangle Crossing, a 95,000 square-foot retail and grocery center, is being developed by Rise Partners and Mark Castleberry of Castle Properties at the old Garan Manufacturing site at the intersection of Highway 12 and Industrial Park Road. After Castleberry purchased the property from Garan in 2018, construction finally began Thursday as community members and project developers shoveled the first piles of dirt onto the project.
“It is a great day for Starkville, Oktibbeha County and our surrounding communities,” Castleberry said. “It has taken many people to get to this day.”
Stores within Triangle Crossing will include Marshalls, Ulta Beauty Supply, Five Below, Rack Room Shoes, PetSmart, Sport Clips, Aspen Dental and Aldi Grocery. Castleberry said construction will be complete in fall 2022.
When Garan moved into its new facility in the North Star Industrial Park in 2019, Castleberry said he knew he could move forward with his project with the right partners.
“I worked on this project for a while and realized it was a great project but also realized I did not have the experience to bring the best project forward here,” Castleberry said. “… I was then introduced to Rise Partners.”
Rise Partners, a commercial real estate agency from Chattanooga, Tennessee, has developed multiple shopping centers throughout the county, including a project within the University Mall in Columbus in 2014.
Rise founding partner Matt Phillips said his teammates searched for a property in Starkville to develop during their time in Columbus but could never find the right site. About a year ago, Rise was contacted about potentially partnering with Castleberry on developing Triangle Crossing, and within a day, Phillips said he and Castleberry were having lunch, discussing the details of the project.
“We came down here eager to see if we could make something happen,” Phillips said. “… The turning point for this project, when we really believed it was going to happen, happened to be the same day that Mississippi State University won the national championship in baseball. … We were driving into town listening to how they won on the radio, and we thought ‘I think this project might happen after all.’”
Seventy to 90 percent of the space within Triangle Crossing is already leased, which Castleberry said is a testament to Rise’s reputation. Castleberry and Rise will also work with Berry Construction on the development of Triangle Crossing.
The project will cost $30 million to construct and generate 120 construction jobs. Upon completion, Castleberry said Triangle Crossing will employ approximately 200 people and generate an estimated $35 million in annual retail sales.
Castleberry’s reputation also precedes him. He has developed hotel properties in Columbus and Starkville — including the Mill at MSU conference center on Russell Street in Starkville — as well as other major retail projects.
“In previous groundbreakings, I’ve been proud to make the statement ‘Castle Properties brought $100 million of investments to Mississippi,’” Castleberry said. “Later, I was able to say that Castle Properties brought $100 million to the Golden Triangle. Today, I can be proud to state that upon completion of the project, I brought $100 million of investments to Starkville.”
Castleberry said without the help of the Starkville city government this project would not be possible.
In February, the board of aldermen voted to allocate $4.2 million in a tax-increment financing agreement with Castleberry to help finance the project. With the TIF, the city agreed to issue up to a certain amount in bonded debt to reimburse Castleberry for certain aspects of a project — such as water/sewer infrastructure, roads and parking. TIF bonds cannot pay for building construction. In turn, the city will repay the bonds over 15 years with general sales and ad valorem taxes generated from the development.
Mayor Lynn Spruill said projects like these show progress within the city and Castleberry has the full support of her and the board of aldermen.
“Mr. Castleberry is looking to the future in ways that we all want him to do,” Spruill said. “He has invested in Starkville, and Starkville is our home and a place we are proud of. We are delighted to see people who believe Starkville is a great place to do business.”