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A significant portion of a long-discussed multi-use project adjacent to Mississippi State University got a jump start today as higher education officials approved a lease agreement on a former cotton mill.
The mill â€“ known as the Cooley Building â€“ is a key component of the Cotton Mill Marketplace development planned off Highway 12 within walking distance from MSU.
Mississippiâ€™s Institutions of Higher Learning Board of Trustees approved a plan in which the The Cotton Mill Development Group would buy land neighboring the Cooley Building for $2.8 million and lease the building for $300,000 annually for 41 years, after which time the property will revert to MSU's control, according to a statement issued through MSU late Thursday afternoon.
Crews are to renovate the building and turn it into a conference center and 37,000 square feet of office space.Â
The developers will also pay MSU up to $850,000 to relocate operations currently housed in the building, according to the statement.
MSU research centers are expected to lease space in the building. The total project cost will top $64 million.
The facility will be constructed to International Association of Convention Center standards, making it the only center in a three-state region with this designation.
This could great new opportunities for conventions from organizations which need events held in IACC venues, the statement said.
â€œI am pleased that the IHL board approved our request to move forward with this important project.Â Â This development will afford the opportunity to have a world-class convention center that will support activities on campus and in the community.Â It will provide a significant economic boost to the entire region," MSU President Dr. Mark Keenum said.
Editor's note: The Starkville Daily News will develop a more detailed story on these developments for print and the website on Friday.