After more than a two-year wait, significant site work recently resumed at the WestPark development on West Main Street in Tupelo.
And the developers – Justin Davis of Southern Retail Properties and Clay Short of TRI Inc. Commercial – have begun pre-leasing for an 8,000 to 10,000-square-foot retail strip center that will occupy one of six available lots that total more than 5 acres.
For the strip center, those “whose business models make them tenants rather than buyers are primary targets.” Restaurants and retailers are obvious targets for the strip center.
In addition to the strip center under contract, another parcel is under contract for an undisclosed “service industry operator,” which Short said is a natural fit for the area. He also said it should be open within 9-12 months.
WestPark is across from Ballard Park, one of the city’s busiest venues, which makes the development ideal, the developers said.
Said Short, “Due to the blight that existed in that area for too long, people forgot that this area is still West Main Street across from one of the most consistent traffic and community generators in the marketplace. Anyone who has ever had a child play youth sports knows that. The question is, who is going to capitalize on all of that traffic. It’s an easy choice for restaurants from my perspective.”
A proposed site plan shows four parcels of property directly facing West Main Street, including two properties that are next to the primary road into WestPark that has access to traffic light. One parcel shows a proposed bank, and another interior parcel is targeted for a grocery store.
Short made it clear that there are no commitments from a grocer to the development, and that it would include one only if it was a “good fit for the project and area.”
WestPark takes up the front portion of land that housed the former headquarters and warehouses for now-defunct Hancock Fabrics, which occupied the site until 2004. The facilities were then used by Block Corp. The remaining 300,000 square feet of warehouse space remains separate from the WestPark development.
“If you look at West Main from a Google Earth/bird’s-eye view, it’s very easy to see that this project is going to be dynamic and viable,” Short said. “West Main is always in demand, with a very low supply of available property. Now we’re giving those businesses a great place to locate.”