ICYMI in today’s Daily Journal, here’s a detailed story about a $50 million project planned for North Gloster Street in Tupelo. We were provided exclusive photos and a look at the master plan by the developer, Bruce Patel.
A senior living community, retail stores and restaurants are part of a proposed $50 million development on North Gloster Street.
The project encompasses about 28 acres stretching from the west side of North Gloster Street – where a Comfort Suites hotel and a Sleep Inn hotel were located prior to being destroyed by the April 2014 tornado – toward Legion Lake.
Bruce Patel, the CEO of Tupelo-based Fusion Hospitality, is the author of the plan, which initially calls for an $18 million investment in a senior living facility called Pinnacle Point of Tupelo.
Fusion owned the Comfort Suites, and Patel later bought the lot where Sleep Inn was located. Neither hotel was rebuilt, but Patel has a bigger plan in mind with this project.
Pinnacle Point will be the prototype of two other similar projects Patel is planning to build in Arkansas and Tennessee. It will be a 100-unit community in a “resort-style environment,” Patel said, complete with a bistro, healing garden, chapel, on-site spa and salon and an outpatient rehabilitation center.
The one- and two-story building complex will be 85,000 to 100,000 square feet.
“We’re looking at it being finished 14 to 16 months once we start,” Patel said. “So we’re hopefully looking at late 2018.”
In addition, some 30 one-story cottages will measure about 1,600 square feet each, designed for independent living. They’ll complement the larger Pinnacle Point facility, Patel said.
“Because the facilities are in proximity, it’s independent living but we can still assist them,” Patel said of the cottages. “There’s a connectivity between independent living, assisted living and memory care.”
The senior living facilities will be unlike any other, he said, because of his company’s experience in the hospitality industry. They’ll use that to make it as close to resort-style living as much as possible.
“This is more like a residential development than anything else,” Patel said. “It’s not like one of my hotels where we’re checking in a new face every night and every day. These are long-term residents who will be living with us like family. They’re there for the long-haul.”
But Pinnacle Point and the cottages are only part of the overall project.
RETAIL & RESTAURANTS
The plan also calls for two retail centers, about 14,500-square feet each, and a pair of 2-acre outparcel lots geared toward restaurants.
“That’s the highest and best use of that land,” Patel said. “We can get two high-caliber restaurants in, which employ 350-400 people between them … The rest of the development doesn’t depend on having the restaurants for survival, but the restaurants will have a built-in clientele.”
The entrance into the development – the restaurants on either side – would be like a boulevard with trees and landscaping. Pinnacle Point and the cottages also would be connected by greenspace and have walking trails.
It will be much like a community within a community, Patel said.
“When you look at the development as a whole, everything complements one another,” he said.
Another 2-acre site that sits behind Community Bank is being left open for future development. Patel didn’t commit to what that could be, but another hotel isn’t out of the question.
“You can never say never,” he said.
The project will, however, have to wait at least another month, as Patel must wait on zoning approvals.
He submitted a flexible-use request to the Tupelo Planning Committee, which tabled the motion on Monday because of concerns from some residents in Dunbarton Oaks.
Tupelo Development Services Director Shane Hooper said he’s confident those concerns will be addressed. He’ll be meeting with Patel to go over them before the July meeting of the Planning Committee.
“This was a competitive placement earned by the positive business climate of Tupelo,” Hooper said. “There are many details to be addressed, but we are very pleased to see the interest in Tupelo as a possible site.”
Added Patel, “I appreciate everybody’s comments, and we’ll do our best to address their concerns.”
Patel said once the zoning variances are approved, he can start the project almost right away, without having to deal with any franchise or corporate headquarters to bog things down.
“It’s me – I am corporate,” he said with a laugh. “That makes it a lot easier and decisions can be made a lot faster.”
Building the road will be the first move, followed by the construction of one of the retail centers. Once that reaches 60 percent occupancy, he’ll build the second one. Meanwhile, work will move along on Pinnacle Point, and recruitment will begin on landing a couple of restaurants.
Patel envisions turning what was tornado-stricken property into something beneficial for many.
“When you look at this vacant land right now, you have to look at what impact it’s making,” he said. “Right now, nothing. What’s its doing for the city? Nothing. How many jobs is it creating? Nothing. Unless it gets developed, it will continue to create nothing.”
In addition to the restaurant workers, Pinnacle Point will employ 75 to 90 full-time staffers, and the shops inside the retail centers will employ many more.
“We’ll easily have 400-500 people at least employed here,” Patel said. “This land has been there forever and a day. The zoning allows us to do what we’ve proposed. Prior to the tornado, that land was essentially land-locked. The way I view it is that was the lock, and the key was up front, which I already owned. When the hotels went down, there it was – the lock and the key. So why not unlock it?”
Click here for the master site plan: TUPELO MASTER PLAN 5-1-17 (colored) (11×17)