$140M expansion of Margaritaville Biloxi with giant Ferris wheel envisioned
Margaritaville Resort Biloxi is so popular the developers want to add two more hotels, more restaurants, convention space and a huge Ferris wheel on neighboring property in East Biloxi.
Representatives of Barrington Development went to the City Council meeting Tuesday to request a zoning change to build a hotel in the former Santa Maria senior housing tower.
Barrington restored the White House Hotel and converted and expanded the former Casino Magic hotel into Margaritaville Resort.
Now they are preparing to take on another Hurricane Katrina eyesore by converting the gutted Santa Maria tower in downtown Biloxi into a 154-room all-suite hotel to be named Watermark. The $12 million project will have a seafood restaurant featuring freshly caught fish, and like the White House, will incorporate vintage photos of old Biloxi, company attorney Michael Cavanaugh said.
When Councilman Paul Tisdale asked if there are any additional plans for Margaritaville, Cavanaugh described how the company wants to build a 317-room hotel tower west of the current resort with a large Ferris wheel between the hotels. The company also plans a 100-room extended stay hotel north of U.S. 90 between Cedar and Pine streets. That land also is owned by Barrington, Cavanaugh said.
The project will create 700 new jobs, he said.
“We want to be open by May of 2018,” said Cono Caranna, who is with Barrington.
It takes time to order the amusements, carnival games and other amenities, and the company needs to order materials early next year, Cavanaugh said.
Biloxi has started proceedings to rezone the property surrounding Margaritaville for family entertainment, which would not permit a casino on that land.
That would reduce the cost of tidelands payments and development in that area.
Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann has filed an objection to changing the zoning since some of the 20 parcels fall under tidelands.
In other action Tuesday, Dixie Newman was voted president of the council and Paul Tisdale the vice president.