Home Business Project at old Vowell’s presses on after Corner Market backs out

Project at old Vowell’s presses on after Corner Market backs out

by Clarence Jones

Renovations of the old Vowell’s Marketplace in Starkville, located at 118 Hwy. 12 W., are expected to be completed by the end of the year. However, the developer, Roy Oswalt, is currently searching for another anchor business after Corner Market, originally planned as a tenant, backed out.

Currently, Ace Hardware is the only confirmed tenant for the new shopping center. Construction contractor Luke Robinson of Codaray Construction has stated that Ace Hardware could potentially start moving into its 10,000-square-foot space in January.

Roy Oswalt, through his company 44 Properties, purchased the 60,000-square-foot space a few months after Vowell’s closed in November 2021. Oswalt intended to create a shopping center that would house three tenants. In May 2022, it was announced that Ace Hardware and Corner Market, a local grocery chain, would occupy two of the spaces, with efforts underway to recruit a third tenant. However, Corner Market later backed out for reasons that Oswalt couldn’t recall.

Despite the setback, Oswalt and his team at 44 Properties are actively seeking tenants to fill the remaining 50,000 square feet. While Ace Hardware is confirmed, Oswalt has not made a decision regarding the other spaces.

The project has encountered some delays in obtaining equipment and HVAC units necessary for the tenants to move in. However, with these items now in hand, the construction is progressing more rapidly. Oswalt explained that there were delays in acquiring equipment and air conditioners, with a waiting period of about a year for HVAC units if they were ordered today.

Luke Robinson of Codaray Construction stated that demolition work on the site began in October 2022 with the goal of creating an empty shell that the tenants could build out according to their needs. Most of the demolition work is now complete, and crews are currently focusing on the exterior facade and interior electrical and mechanical upgrades. Sidewalk and parking lot upgrades are also underway to comply with the American with Disabilities Act. Robinson expects to finish most of the work by December.

Overall, despite the setbacks with Corner Market, the development of the old Vowell’s Marketplace is moving forward. With Ace Hardware confirmed as a tenant and the construction progressing, it is only a matter of time before the remaining spaces are filled with new businesses, bringing a fresh shopping experience to the Starkville area.

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