Developer sees demand

by

Published: February 20,2006

Tupelo — It isn’t plastic surgery. It isn’t a reality television show. It does certainly qualify as an “Extreme Makeover.”

Following a year’s worth of work, The Belfry — a former government office building and nuclear fallout shelter — officially opened its doors as a luxury apartment complex during a community open-house celebration late last year. Located in downtown Tupelo, the complex features 11 residential units ranging from 1,500 to 3,000 square feet, plus another 8,000 square feet of office/retail space.

Developer Tommy Morgan, his son Adam, and partners Mike Williams and Jeff Michaels purchased and renovated the five-story building, which Tommy Morgan said meets a need for upscale housing, while enhancing the downtown area.

“Tupelo has had good, sustained economic growth for some time and our community has also enjoyed a strong financial and legal district in the downtown area,” Morgan observed. “We feel that we were able to meet a residential need for professionals who like the access and convenience of downtown Tupelo.”

Making commitments

To date, seven of the 11 residential units are committed, according to Morgan, with three purchased and four leased. The building’s penthouse features 2,700 square feet of heated/cooled space plus two open-air decks and some unfinished space. Morgan said the traditional exterior provides a timeless appeal that fits well in the downtown community.

The former side of the building was converted to the front, and a tower was added on the east side, Morgan said.
Parking is divided with residential in one area and commercial in another. The facility also features wrought-iron fencing, a courtyard and landscaping. There are also two elevators in the building and interior units feature amenities such as hardwood and tile floors and granite countertops.

Memory lane for many

Morgan said that the open house brought about 200 visitors, many of whom recalled their own memories of the property.

“Several people came up to me and noted that they used to work here and that they were pleased to see that the building was being used in a productive way that adds to the appearance of downtown Tupelo,” Morgan noted. “We have received a lot of positive feedback throughout the entire community.”

In recent weeks, Morgan has been busy with his own downtown move, with the relocation of Coldwell Banker/Tommy Morgan Realtors to its new offices in the Fairpark District in downtown Tupelo. Morgan said that a vibrant downtown area with business, governmental, retail and residential components reflects the overall strength of Tupelo as a whole.

“When you see a community with a strong downtown area, you tend to see a community that thrives overall,” Morgan said.

Contact MBJ contributing writer Karen Kahler Holliday at mbj@msbusiness.com.

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