By DENNIS SEID / Daily Journal
SHANNON – The Community Development Foundation broke ground on its third speculative building, a 100,000-square-foot facility in the Tupelo Lee Industrial Park South (also commonly called TULIPS).
It is the third spec building built by the CDF, which five years ago began the program to provide building shells for prospective companies to use.
The new building, at 100,000 square feet, should be finished by the spring.
Monday’s groundbreaking marked the end of another successful year for economic development in Lee County, which created 869 new jobs, $62 million in capital investment and $28 million in added payroll.
CDF’s first spec building, at 75,000 square feet initially, also is in TULIPS. It is occupied by Grammer, which announced in early 2014 it would invest $30 million and add 650 jobs over five years. The second spec building, measuring 50,000 square feet, is in the Harry A. Martin North Lee Industrial Complex in Baldwyn.
The spec buildings serve as “lures” for potential tenants.
“When you go fishing, you fish with bigger lures, so with 100,000 square feet, you hope to get a larger company,” said David Rumbarger, CDF president and CEO.
The 50,000-square-foot spec building in Baldwyn has attracted much interest, according to Rumbarger, but it hasn’t landed a taker yet.
But Rumbarger said he doesn’t expect any of the buildings to sit empty for more than five years.
“This is a common practice in economic development for those more aggressive communities – it’s a chance to build diversity because the building sizes are different,” Rumbarger said. “Different types of companies need different things, and it gives you a chance to fast-track economic development decisions.”
TULIPS, established in 1962, covers more than 1,400 acres, is home to 30 industries and employs some 4,300 people.
“CDF’s work toward bringing more and better jobs to the people of Lee County begins with innovative practices that attract business to the area,” said CDF Chairman Barry Smith. “An industrial shell of this size fills a proven void in the marketplace, adding to the diversity of products Lee County offers to companies looking to relocate or expand.”
Tennessee Valley Authority provided assistance in support of the project through its InvestPrep program.
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