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New developer takes over mall site that has state tax aid

A new developer is taking over a plan to build a large shopping center on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

Local news outlets report that Rise Partners has taken over development in D’Iberville with plans to begin construction next summer and complete the first phase in summer 2020.

The new company, based in Chattanooga, Tennessee, says it has agreed with landowner Bob Mandal to build a 600,000 square-foot (55,000 sq. meter) development including stores, restaurants, offices and hotels on an 80-acre (30-hectare) site at the intersection of Interstate 10 and Interstate 110.

Mandal, a car dealer who built a dealership elsewhere on the property, had originally planned an indoor mall, not the outdoor development now planned. Founding partner Geoff Smith formerly worked with retail developer CBL & Associates, which developed the nearby Promenade shopping center. That center includes the Mississippi Gulf Coast’s only Target store.

The state has granted a sales tax rebate worth $96 million to the project under a since-repealed tax provision. Developers would have to invest $326 million and generate $1.9 billion in sales over 15 years to get all $96 million.

D’Iberville Mayor Rusty Quave says the development shows his city is a growing retail market. The city has helped induce retail development by creating tax increment financing districts, which divert tax money to help developers pay for the cost of infrastructure. State and local officials have also invested tens of millions in improving road access to the area.

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