Over 100 years of history went into the making of the Mill at Mississippi State University, and this year the Mississippi Municipal League (MLL) honored the $40 million restoration project with its “Best Overall” Excellence Award.
These awards, given annually since 1993, recognize cities that demonstrate innovation, excellent management, citizen participation and community partnerships to enhance the community and quality of life for residents.
Trey Hess, brownfield director located in PPM’s Jackson, Mississippi office, was involved in “The Mill at MSU” project for the city of Starkville during his time with the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ).
This $40 million project utilized brownfield grants and community partnerships to restore a 100-year-old community icon into an economic driver for the area. The cotton mill at the center of this restoration opened in 1902 and stands today as an entry to Mississippi State University.
The mill and surrounding land had been compromised by asbestos, underground storage
tanks and other solid waste complications. After mixed-use brownfield redevelopment, the property now holds a conference center with office space, Marriott Courtyard hotel and garage parking. The parking garage – which has three bays and four levels – has a parking capacity of 650 vehicles, and is being paid for by an $8 million community development block grant issued by the Mississippi Development Authority.
The biggest and newest conference center in the area, The Mill is one of the most unique convention facilities in the country, combining the history and character of Mississippi with the comforts and capabilities of the modern era.
By leveraging dollars through the Mississippi Economic Redevelopment Act (MERA), the developer received an incentive for accepting the business and environmental risks associated with the contamination. MERA promotes redevelopment by providing an incentive to defray the remediation costs associated with cleaning up contaminated property. The developer was able to recover the environmental cleanup costs that totaled over $1 million dollars.
This cooperative partnership of public and private stakeholders enabled the preservation of a historic landmark while creating new economic opportunities for the city of Starkville.