Transforming Real Estate Into Destinations

Singing the Mississippi Story to the Tune of $24 Million

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 2014 U.S. Maxi Gold Winner

Client: Spectrum Capital + Outlets of Mississippi
Title: Singing the Mississippi Story to the Tune of $24 Million
Category: NOI Enhancement
Award: 2014 U.S. Maxi Gold Winner

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Challenge:

Illustrate the positive economic impact Outlets of Mississippi would bring to the state as a tourism entity in order to expand a current law enabling ownership to apply, and possibly qualify for, Mississippi’s Tourism Tax Rebate Program—a potential $24 million tax incentive. The effort was deemed unprecedented for the state of Mississippi.  


Approach:

Strategy+Style worked with Spectrum Capital to lobby Mississippi government to expand its statute to include outlet centers as cultural tourism attractions based on being able to prove 1) shopping consistently lands on top lists ranking favorite tourism activities throughout the U.S. and 2) retail projects bring significant tax revenue to the markets they serve.

Tactics:

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  • Collaborated with the Mississippi Development Authority (MDA) to assess project criteria to qualify for the tourism tax rebate program.
  • Developed the “pitch” including property design and architecture enhancements pertaining to Mississippi tourism to present to law makers.
  • Coordinated and participated in meetings with local and state government officials, including Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant and City of Pearl Mayor Brad Rogers, to discuss proposed project criteria.
  • Created a five-year marketing plan showing how the team would drive tourism.
  • Presented a detailed budget analysis and financial forecast of temporary jobs, permanent employment and anticipated sales figures.
  • Officially changed the center’s name to the Outlets of Mississippi cementing its identification as a statewide tourism location.
  • Incorporated tourism elements into the center’s design and architecture plans showcasing Mississippi’s color, culture and flavor including: 
    • A marble monument depicting the famed Mississippi Blues and Country Music Trails.
    • The naming of outlet center pedestrian thoroughfares after the state’s main regions with signage and educational displays.
    • Specialty retail kiosks selling works of art by Mississippi craftsmen and artisans throughout the property.
    • Commissioned a Mississippi artist original mural prominently displayed at the center’s Food Court.
    • Allotted 1,400 square feet of store space to the MDA and its staff which would serve as Guest Services.
 

Results:


In a pioneering effort, Spectrum Capital’s Outlets of Mississippi was successfully granted official status by state government as a cultural tourism attraction – the first retail development to ever have been awarded the label. With the designation in hand, the team applied for Mississippi’s Tourism Tax Rebate Program successfully securing a $24 million sales tax rebate.

Along the way, the team developed a working relationship with the MDA, the state’s “go-to” visitor marketing arm. The relationship enabled the center to embed itself with all regional Mississippi visitor and tourism agencies to partner, sponsor and cross-promote, resulting in a state-wide promotional reach.  

The Outlets of Mississippi’s tax incentive ultimately funded 30% of the total ground-up project cost.

 
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