Plans for Downtown Hotel Renovation Await Only Regulatory Approval
COLUMBUS – Courtesy of The Dispatch
Former New Stone Hotel – Dispatch file photo
Plans for a complete renovation of the old New Stone Hotel and The Arcade Hotel building have been completed and submitted to the City for review and approval. The current owners, developers Tommy Howard and Chris Chain, purchased the century-old property in 2016 from Susan Mackay and her brother, Wayne Price. They plan to restore the now dilapidated building to its former glory as a mixed-use development. Chain said. “Once we get the building permit, we can move forward and start working on the rebuild.”
Columbus Building Official Ken Wiegel said the documents presented will be reviewed thoroughly before a building permit is granted. Now that the plans have been submitted, the city building department and fire department will review them, which generally takes up to 10 business days, unless concerns are raised during the review. Once this process is complete, a permit can soon be issued.
Chris Chain, left, and Tommy Howard
The two buildings were first constructed in 1905, and they have since hosted hotels, an auto parts store, a children’s clothing store, a print shop, and the first Party and Paper location. The structures had been in Mackay’s family until 2016.
Chain owns Renovations of Mississippi Inc., and Howard has restored downtown buildings, including 208 Fifth St. S., just down the street from the hotels.
Please click here to download/view a PDF file of the plans for the hotel.
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Back Yard Burgers is on its Way Back, Baby!
COLUMBUS – Some info courtesy of the Dispatch
City building official Ken Wiegel reports that Back Yard Burgers is planning to reopen its Columbus store just off of Hwy 45 in front of Wal-Mart. While the location shut down in October of 2016, there is currently no formal re-opening date announced. However, Wiegel says that inspections of the property have been conducted. The compay has dozens of locations open in in the US, mostly in Tennessee, Mississippi, and the Midwest.
Originally founded in Cleveland, MS in 1987, the Back Yard Burgers chain has seen its ups and downs. A deal with Yum! Brands, owners of Pepsi and Taco Bell, in 2002~2004 ultimately fell through. Since going public, the company has passed through multiple hands, and even entered Bankruptcy reogranization in 2012; however, they emerged from this temporary setback and kept on going, thanks in part to investors who believe in the brand and want to see it thrive.
To this day, the company uses only Black Angus Beef in its burgers, and offeres a wide variety of optional sides (including vegetarian choices) for its more selective customers. Their menu also includes salads, turkey and chicken sandwiches, chili, potato soup, shakes, desserts, and a number of french fry and baked potato dishes.
Traditional Italian Restaurant “Gondolier” Coming to Starkville This Summer
Gondolier Italian Restaurant & Pizza will open in the 550 Russell development on Russell Street in June or July. (Courtesy photo)
STARKVILLE, MS – Courtesy of the Starkville Daily News
Gondolier Italian Restaurant & Pizza has announced that it will be opening a new location next to The Mill, right in Downtown Starkville, and that it plans to do so in June or July of this year. The family-owned chain began in Cleveland, TN in 1974, and all of their food is made from fresh ingredients in-house; they currently have about thirty other locations. They specialize in traditional Italian and Greek foods, pizza, and desserts.
“They make everything in the restaurant – nothing is frozen,” Castleberry, the owner of the property where the restaurant will be located, said. “One of their specialties is lasagna and pasta. It’s a traditional Italian restaurant, and they serve pizza and calzones. They also make a great tiramisu.”
The building will also house a Mugshots location, as well as two floors of condominium space – four units per floor.
“They [Gondolier] are a very community-minded company,” he said. “They are going to be very active in the community, and well within our vision of The Mill and that area to have a lot of buzz to it and being a nice community congregating place. They are going to fit in well, and their meals are in a good price point.”
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New Terry Brown Amphitheater Phase 1 Done, Usable for Free Events. Phase 2 Next Up
Columbus, MS – The Dispatch
The Terry Brown Amphitheater (Phase I) on the Westbank of the river
The new Terry Brown Amphitheater, located on the west bank of the river, as part of the Columbus Riverwalk, has completed Phase 1 of its construction, and they’re ready for Phase 2 to begin as soon as funding can be raised. The work thus far has cost about $3 million, and another $2.5 million or so is being called for in order to finish everything up.
City Engineer Kevin Stafford said that going over the usual list of making sure every little thing works properly is all that needs to be done before formally turning over the keys to the City itself: “We’ll be testing all the systems next week to make sure everything’s ready to go,” Stafford said. “What you have is basically the same thing as across the river (an existing outdoor stage under the Old Highway 82 bridge with grass seating). It’s just bigger, less likely to flood and is fully ADA accessible.”
Once these tests and inspections are all done, the amphitheater facility will be usable for free events; once everything else is done (such as fencing, ticketing, permanent restrooms, etc), it will be usable for private and paid events, as well. Stafford says that, once funding is secured, “I would estimate it would take about nine months, start to finish.” All of the physical infrastructure and groundwork is in place already.
“It’s a great facility,” said Barbara Bigelow, director of Main Street Columbus. “At this point, I haven’t discussed how we might use it. Sounds of Summer could certainly be held there, but people love where it is now, so I’m not sure my board would want to move. But I do think there is a lot of potential for the new facility. It’s another attraction for our downtown and we’re excited to see what happens there.”
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Inventive MSU Students Turning Golf Carts into Gold
STARKVILLE, MS – Starkville Daily News
CFO Cameron Maddox, 19, left, and COO James Moore, 19, of Cowbell Carts (Photo by Logan Kirkland, SDN)
MSU students Sophomores James Moore and Cameron Maddox are launching Starkville’s first micro-transportation system, called “Cowbell Carts.” Each of their two carts (at the moment) can seat six passengers comfortably, and the young men plan to use them to help people travel safely during busy times hours, e.g. acting as designated drivers, shuttling people to big games from distant parking lots, etc. Their initial coverage area will include primarily MSU’s campus, the Cotton District, and Main Street. The cost for a ride for a group of people from Main Street to the dorms will be about $8 total.
“I think we are really going to provide a service that not only makes everyone safer, but it’s going to be really fun and entertaining,” Moore said. He went on to say that their company was inspired by the observation that college towns, such as Starkville, tend to have a vibrant night life; thus, the decision was made to offer a low-cost, safe way to get people where they’re going while they’re out on the town.
While not everyone has been as enthusiastic about the prospects for such a business, their professors and the college have given them valuable criticism and supported their idea: “We try to take the criticism as constructive,” Moore said. “I’ve been relying heavily on people that have much more experience than I do.”
While they plan to keep it a 2-man operation at first, in order to test the waters, they plan to expand once football season begins. They know that the road ahead is uncertain – as they need to balance their new jobs with their scholastix endeavors – but they are confident that they can pull this off, and they are willing to work hard in order that they succeed on both fronts: “When you’re thinking of the idea, let your head go to the clouds,” Maddox said. “But when it comes down to actually making the business, you’ve got to be on the ground.”
Cowbell Carts is projected to have a ribbon cutting ceremony sometime between Aug. 7 and Aug 11. The company will begin immediately when school starts back for Mississippi State students this fall.
“I’m obviously incredibly excited for this to be here, not just because it’s my business but it’s something that Starkville doesn’t have and Starkville needs,” Moore said. “I think Starkville and the campus is going to see a lot of good come out of this.”
Business hours will be every Thursday through Saturday from 6 P.M. to 2 A.M.
Courtesy of The Dispatch
Wythe Rhett of Rhett Real Estate recently confirmed that Cook Out, the North Carolina-based burger chain that set up a successful location in Starkville about a year ago, plans to open a location in North Columbus. Cook Out recently finalized the purchase of the old Immanuel Baptist Church property on 18th Ave N, which had not been in use in the past two years. Their current intention is to “demolish the (church) building and carve out enough of the property to put Cook Out on, then look at the possibility of adding another motel or strip (mall).”
Cook Out eateries are known for grilled burgers, barbecue and more than 40 kinds of milkshakes. The Starkville location employs approximately 50 and is open 10:30 a.m.-3 a.m. Sunday-Thursday and 10:30 a.m.-4 a.m. Friday-Saturday. This would be the fourth Cook Out location in the state, joining its over 170 brethren nationwide.
The Volume Freight shipping company, owned by Doug Estes, is currently building a new steel structure on Hwy 82 near the Vibrant Church West location. The finished building will serve as a two-floor terminal with a three-vehicle bay shop to maintain Volume’s fleet of 65 trucks. Next up once that’s ready is a planned 150-thousand square foot warehouse and approximately 35 new trucks. The company employs about 80 drivers, who service the contiguous 48 states, plus about eight local mechanics; roughly half of the trucks are based locally, as well. Volume Freight, a local company, has been in business since 1988.
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Columbus’ Wingate Hotel Sold to Merchant Hotel Group
COLUMBUS – Courtesy of the Mississippi Business Journal
CBRE Hotels recently announced that it has arranged the sale of the Wingate by Wyndham Columbus. The hotel complex is located at 129 Brickerton Street in Columbus.; the buyer is Merchant Hotel Group.
“We attracted tremendous interest from both in-state and out-of-state investors on this asset,” Michael Yu of CBRE Hotels said. “We received multiple offers and sold the asset for a considerable premium to the pricing guidance.”
“It was a truly pleasurable experience working with Mr. Yu and his team. I appreciate their guidance at every step of this transaction. I would not think twice about partnering again with this CBRE Hotels team for another transaction,” said Greg Posmantur, with LMF Properties.
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