GOLDEN TRIANGLE – Courtesy of Progress/The Commercial Dispatch
Developer Mark Castleberry has had a twenty-year history as one of the GTR’s most prolific developers, and who’s vision and ambition have made a huge impact in the Golden Triangle. He moved to West Point from Long Beach, California in 199, and he completed his first project in 1998 – The Tower Center in West Point. Since then, he has spent that time well, bringing eighteen projects to life (so far!), including hotels, restaurants, and many other venues, such as The Mill at MSU in Starkville and the hotels-and-more section of 18th Avenue in Columbus.
Castleberry remains humble about his works, seeing them as simply something that could help improve the area: “People think I’m some kind of financial genius, but I’m alarmingly ignorant about those things,” he said. “More than anything, [The Mill] was a gut feeling. I saw it and said, ‘Now, there’s an very interesting project. I don’t know what it is yet, but yeah, we can do it.’ It wasn’t a lot more sophisticated than that.”
He also makes it a point to stat apprised of how the areas he does work in are perceived, how his projects may have changed those perceptions: “We have over $100 million invested in the Golden Triangle, so I wouldn’t be very smart if I didn’t want to be knowledgeable about its health,” he said. “I don’t see that as a negative. I’m proud of the work the CVB has done in portraying Columbus in a positive light. Being on the CRA board, meant I couldn’t participate directly in any of the development, but I’m proud of the CRA’s role in getting the Lee High property back on the tax rolls.”