Financing has been secured to complete the Sen. Thad Cochran Mississippi Center for Information and Technology in Vicksburg, known as MCITy, by the end of 2021.
The Vicksburg Warren Economic Development Foundation announced Friday that the EDF and its partner investors, led by Mr. Tim Cantwell of Newbreak Management, have secured all needed financing to complete the MCITy project no later than December 2021. This partnership, through a combination of conventional financing through BancorpSouth Bank and the utilization of Historic and New Market Tax Credits, was able to close the financing gap needed to complete the project started in 2019 with the support of the Mississippi legislature which allocated a total of $8.9 million to the project. The project has a total cost of $18.2 million.
“I am pleased to announce that the financing of MCITy has been consummated,” said Mark T. Buys, chairman of the Vicksburg Warren County EDF, in a statement, “MCITy is at the core of a new economic model for our region and for the State, and we are proud that Vicksburg is leading the way in capitalizing on Mississippi’s R&D assets to create high paying jobs for our communities.”
MCITy will be a technology and innovation space where ERDCWERX (Partnership Intermediary Agency of the Engineer Research and Development Center) will, among other things, support ERDC’s tech transfer goals and programs. In addition, MCITy will become home to the offices of the Vicksburg Warren Economic Development Partnership (which includes the Chamber of Commerce, the EDF and the Warren County Port Commission) and to other innovation-oriented tenants who are expected to be announced in the upcoming months.
The MCITy project began as part of the vision that the late Senator Thad Cochran had for Mississippi as a state that would fully capitalize on tech transfer and federal contracting opportunities to create high paying jobs, and benefit small and medium-sized companies.
For the past several years, leaders representing the City of Vicksburg, the County, ERDC and economic development, have worked to develop that idea into the MCITy, which seeks to create an ecosystem where Mississippi is able to generate jobs and wealth from the innovation and R&D done in entities like ERDC, the Stennis Space Center, and the state’s universities and technical centers. A key component of that concept was the creation of organizations like ERDCWERX that could help federal research entities be more efficient at doing tech transfer and innovation. These entities would need adequate space in an environment that promotes innovation and allows for constant interaction and cooperation with other public and private research entities and companies as well as economic and governmental partners in the region. MCITy will be that space where all the right elements will come together to make this vision a reality for the benefit of all Mississippians.
“This crucial step guarantees that MCITy will become a reality,” said Vicksburg Mayor George Flaggs Jr., who has supported the project since its inception. “This is a once-in-a-generation project, and I am proud of the coalition of leaders at the federal, state and local level that have come together to make this project a reality right here in Vicksburg.”
Margaret Gilmer, incoming chairwoman of the EDF concluded: “This project was highlighted in our strategic plan as the most consequential project for the region. We are thankful for all the EDF members who, through their investment in EDF, are helping make this project a reality and it must be said that this project could not have gotten to where it is without the leadership and financial support of Mayor Flaggs and aldermen Monsour and Mayfield, who understood the vision for this project and the benefits of partnering with the EDF to make it a reality.