TUPELO – Tupelo has agreed to pay $25,000 to a local firm to design the streetscape and landscaping of a public plaza to be built as part of a new commercial development within the downtown Fairpark District.

By unanimous vote, the Tupelo City Council on Tuesday agreed to award the project contract to Sloan Landscape Architecture. The $25,000 contract will be billed as four different components.

In July, the council authorized a public incentives package to encourage new commercial investment within the former Tupelo fairgrounds, an area transformed over the last decade-and-half into a downtown commerce hub. A residential component of the Fairpark District also exists but has been slower to develop.

The city will construct new infrastructure within the district, including the plaza, public parking, access roads and new water and sewer lines. This additional infrastructure is expected to cost about $1.3 million.

In exchange, Maloney Properties has purchased land located to the east of City Hall and south of the of the Tommy Morgan, Inc., Realtors building.

Maloney has committed to eventually building two multi-story office towers at the site, with anticipated private investment of $12 million.

Under the company’s agreement with the city, half that private investment must be spent by next June.

Construction of one tower has already begun, with completion expected in the spring or early summer of 2018, said Downtown Main Street Association Director Debbie Brangenberg. Two tenants have been announced thus far for the space, Century Construction and Realty Inc., connected with Maloney Properties, and insurance firm Ross & Yerger.

The public plaza to be designed by Sloan Landscape Architecture will be located between the prospective towers and will include public parking space.

The design work will detail, among other components, the landscaping and lighting plans.

Plaza construction should be completed by the opening of the first office tower, said Tupelo Chief Operations Officer Don Lewis.