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Southaven outlet mall to get state subsidies

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SOUTHAVEN, Miss. (AP) — The Outlet Shops of the Mid-South in Southaven project will be eligible for $33.9 million in tax rebates from the state, according to the Mississippi Development Authority.

MDA spokesman Jeff Rent told The Commercial Appeal (http://bit.ly/1eXzTiL) on Thursday that the agency approved the developers' application for sales tax incentives on Dec. 30.

Rent said the developers, DeSoto Mid-South Tourism Project LLC, will invest an estimated $113.3 million in the Southaven outlet mall. The mall is to be built in three phases on a 33-acre site at Interstate 55 and Church Road.

The Southaven mall is one of seven retail developments that have been approved for Mississippi's tourism rebate program.

The Outlet Shops of Mississippi, an $80 million mall in Pearl, opened in November. Developers of that mall will receive up to $24 million in subsidies through the tax rebate program.

Last year, legislators opened the door for retail developments to receive state subsidies when they voted to change Missisissippi's five-year old tourism rebate program to include "cultural retail attractions" as projects that can qualify for the funding.

Construction could start on the Southaven mall this summer, with opening next year.

The sales tax rebate program requires the city to divert its sales tax to the state's sales tax incentive fund for up to 15 years, or when 30 percent of the approved costs incurred by the developer for the project have been paid, whichever occurs first.

"This is all part of the sales tax tourism rebate program, and as the stores are completed the sales tax revenue that is generated will go to pay the money back to the MDA," said Southaven Mayor Darren Musselwhite.

"There is still a lot of work that has to be done before we see stores, but this is definitely a monumental step in the game."

Southaven officials have committed to use its sales tax for only Phase I, which includes the 324,000-square-foot outlet mall, a hotel and two restaurants.

Phase 2 calls for a $50 million project that includes three restaurants and another hotel being built on the out parcels surrounding the mall site. Phase 3 has not been determined. The total price tag for all three phases of the mall is estimated to be $165 million.

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Information from: The Commercial Appeal, http://www.commercialappeal.com

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