“Oh, you should have seen the Coast before the storm,” people often say, recalling the grand homes that stood, one more stunning than another, all along the coastline of South Mississippi before 2005.
Hurricane Katrina destroyed these stately homes with their generous porches and Southern-style architecture that made the South Mississippi coastline so memorable. Now two Gulfport friends and businessmen have a mission to reclaim still-empty lots and restore the antebellum look of the beachfront.
“I want to set a standard of what we want the Coast to be,” said Kenneth Jones, a commercial real estate agent for Coldwell Banker Realty in Gulfport. His parents had an old home on the beach in Pass Christian before the storm — “So many people had their old, historic homes on the beach,” he said, “I just miss it.”
People compliment Jones and his wife on the restoration of their home near the beach in Gulfport. But it wasn’t a restoration. It is a new home constructed by Brandon Elliott and Elliott Homes.
Building on that recreation of historic Coast architecture, Elliott and Jones recently formed KB Beach Properties. Their first beach house together is going up at the corner of U.S. 90 and Olive Street in Gulfport.
“It is designed to look like back in the day,” Elliott said. Yet it also incorporates reinforced construction to reduce the cost of wind insurance and energy efficiency to cut utility bills.
The interior of the four-bedroom home has custom cabinets, wood flooring and other high-end finishes families want. A second master suite is designed for baby boomers caring for their parents or for families who have millenials moving in with their parents. Covered porches look out over the beach and the magnificent live oak tree that shades the back yard on the half-acre lot.
Elliott and Jones hope to have construction done by October, in time for the thousands of antique and classic cars to drive by during Cruisin' the Coast.
They’ve priced the home at $989,000 and Jones said, “We’ve already been getting calls.”
This is a spec home for those who want move-in ready. “A lot of people don't want to be involved in picking out the finishes,” he said. “They just want to walk into a finished house.”
The buyer will benefit from a tax abatement program offered by Gulfport as an incentive to rebuild on the beach.
The market for beach homes is returning, they say, for both local people who dream of living on the water and the second home market from New Orleans. This rebound, they say, is in part because insurance rates continue to drop for homes built to the new standards.
They plan to build additional beach homes. “One at a time, though,” said Elliott, whose company builds a home a week in South Mississippi.
Features of the home:
- 1/2 acre waterfront lot
- 3,308 square feet heated and cooled
- 1,200 square feet of porches
- 4 bedrooms, 3.5 baths
- 2 master bedroom suites
- $989,000 asking price