TUPELO • Colin Maloney celebrated his birthday with a few hundred friends on Thursday, when he not only got to eat cake and icing but got to cut a ribbon, too.
Maloney, the owner of Maloney Development Properties and Century Construction and Realty, led the ribbon-cutting ceremony marking the official opening of the four-story, 40,000-square-foot office building.
The first of two buildings, the Fairpark Tower No. 1 is home to insurance firm Ross & Yerger on the second floor, Century Construction on the third floor and BankPlus’s administrative offices on the fourth floor. BankPlus also has a retail branch office on the first floor of the building, and restaurant Southern Craft Stove and Tap will open this fall.
“We would love to be starting building two right now,” Maloney said. “We have the first floor pretty much spoken for, but we’re going to have to get to 50 percent (occupancy) before we can pull the trigger to build it.”
Fairpark Towers is the first Class A full-service office space in Tupelo and the first large-scale office development in nearly 45 years in the city.
Maloney also said there are plans to have a third tower – another four-story building – that will be a multi-use place.
“We hope to make an announcement on that project in the middle of June,” he said. “I’ve got a board meeting to go through first, and if that’s successful, we can move on that as well.”
The Fairpark Towers project kicked off in 2017, when Maloney Development Properties worked out an agreement with the city to invest $12 million in exchange for city-funded infrastructure improvements to the area.
The improvements, estimated to cost about $1.3 million, included water and sewer lines as well as the new road network within the development area.
Fairpark Towers is the newest addition to the Fairpark District, which got its start in 1999 as a 50-acre urban renewal development by the Tupelo Redevelopment Agency. The city of Tupelo issued $22.7 million in bonds to buy the property and to develop the infrastructure, with projections that private investment would eventually triple that.
Debbie Brangenberg, the executive director of the Downtown Tupelo Main Street Association, which has helped oversee the redevelopment of Fairpark, was as excited as anyone at Thursday’s ceremony.
“One of the things that came to mind was that in the 1990s, we would stand in the board training room of BancorpSouth and see a vacant field and we would dream,” she told the crowd gathered outside Fairpark Tower No. 1. “So many people didn’t believe, but there were enough of you that did believe.”
With Maloney’s investment, more than $134 million of capital investment has gone into redeveloping downtown as a whole, she said.