GULFPORT -- The Port of Gulfport is negotiating a lease with a new tenant, but the name of the publicly traded company has not yet been released.
Port Executive Director Jonathan Daniels said he hopes to announce the tenant's name and details about the lease by week's end.
The Port Commission had hoped to approve a lease at its meeting Tuesday, but Daniels said the company must complete another level of review before the deal is finalized.
In January, the port entered its first new maritime lease since 1999 when Crowley came aboard, with the Gulf Coast Shipyard Group. The company expects to employ up to 70 workers, including 30 new employees, over the life of the three-year lease. The company plans to do finish work on the first liquefied natural gas-powered vessel being built in the United States for the offshore oil industry.
The port is undergoing a $580 million restoration and expansion of the West Pier. The project is moving from design to construction, with contracts valued at $130 million to $180 million to be awarded over the next year. Work, which began in 2008, is scheduled to be completed in late 2016, according to the port's annual report.
Commissioners also approved payment Tuesday of engineering fees for West Pier design work related to utilities, grading and paving, plus tenant structures, Port Restoration Director Joe Conn said.
"When we see $1 million in engineering fees, it just takes your breath away," said port Commissioner Jim Simpson, who asked Conn to let meeting attendees know what the bills covered.