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Cellular South to invest $110 million in Mississippi

Even though Cellular South is readying for a move to Highland Colony Parkway, the Mississippi-based company plans to invest $11 million in downtown Jackson for a total of $110 million in Mississippi within the next two years.

By the end of 2007, the new headquarters for Cellular South, its parent company, Telapex Inc., and affiliate Telepak Networks will move from Capital Towers in downtown Jackson to 300 Renaissance at Colony Park. The company also plans to build a state-of-the-art $11-million technical center on South State Street in downtown Jackson to house its network switching infrastructure and technical offices.

“Cellular South’s long-term success depends on our ability to meet our customers’ and our employees’ needs,” said Cellular South CEO Hu Meena. “Over two years ago, the company began an assessment of space requirements for its corporate headquarters to ensure that we continue to provide employees and customers the right infrastructure for continued growth and to strengthen Cellular South’s commitment to provide the best wireless service in the communities we serve. We determined that relocating our headquarters within the tri-county metro Jackson community gives us the opportunity to accommodate future growth and to now own our office space after 18 years of leasing.”

Cellular South considered several options before deciding to move to “one of the most exciting, unique developments in Mississippi,” said Meena. The Renaissance at Colony Park is the latest phase of the 400-acre Colony Park, a mixed-use development along Highland Colony Parkway stretching from Old Agency Road in Ridgeland to Madison Avenue in Madison.

“We discovered the H.C. Bailey Company has designed a unique development and there’s not currently anything else like it in Mississippi,” he said. “The site is part of a 75-acre mixed-use property that will include one million square feet of upscale retail, dining, lodging and office space. As a Mississippi-based company, we’re proud to be part of bringing this prime property to the metro area and think it’s an investment that makes sense for our company. 300 Renaissance is the finest example of top quality office space and will provide Cellular South with maximum flexibility to continue strong growth in the future.”

The new seven-story office building will feature 185,000 square feet of Class A office space on a site north of Old Agency Road located between the parkway and Interstate 55. Cellular South and Telapex will own 60% of the building and initially occupy some 80,000 square feet of office space with a combined total of approximately 230 employees. Bailey’s open-air lifestyle center is slated to open in late 2007.

“As we continue to add new customers, we anticipate adding more jobs on the corporate level in metro Jackson and in our retail stores across Mississippi,” said Meena.

Approximately 20 employees will be located in the technical center in downtown Jackson.

“We’re pleased to be investing in this new development and remaining a vital part of Jackson’s Downtown development for many years to come,” said Meena.

Along with the two new buildings in metro Jackson, Cellular South is launching two additional capital projects in Mississippi beginning in the first quarter of 2006, totaling an investment of $110 million:

• A $78-million network expansion in 2006 will add more than 200 new cell sites throughout Mississippi. This network build out follows a similar $39-million project in 2005 that added 110 cell sites in Mississippi. Since 1999, Cellular South has invested more than $400 million in network infrastructure.

• Cellular South unveiled a new unlimited high-speed wireless Internet service in Starkville in January and plans a similar launch on the Gulf Coast later this year. The service includes an access card for a Windows laptop and provides wireless users a high-speed wireless broadband connection, with the benefit of wireless mobility.

“We will remain committed to supporting the entire metro Jackson community and to continuing to fuel this area’s economic development,” said Meena.

Contact MBJ contributing writer Lynne W. Jeter at Lynne.Jeter@gmail.com.

About Lynne W. Jeter

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