Get a sneak peek at Mississippi Aquarium under construction in Gulfport
“We’ve got development going on out there,” Jerry Creel, Biloxi’s community development director, declared Wednesday as another new hotel and more boardwalks went before the Development Review Committee for inspection.
“We’re $23 million ahead of where we were last year at this time,” Creel said.
Biloxi’s value of building permits stands at $72 million, he said, already surpassing the 2017 total of $65 million with three months still to go.
A $5 million Saltgrass Steak House, right at the foot of the Biloxi Bay Bridge and across from Golden Nugget Casino, is open in Biloxi as Cruisin’ The Coast brings thousands of people to town and looking for new restaurants.
Howard Avenue is being paved with bricks to restore the downtown look of “Old Biloxi.” The west Biloxi boardwalk recently was completed along Restaurant Row and architect Walter “Buzzy” Bolton brought plans to the city for a 12-foot wide concrete walkway in East Biloxi with lights for night use.
“When this is completed basically you’ll be able to walk from Margaritaville to the north side of Palace Casino,” he said. The plan is to eventually have walkways from DeBuys Road at the Gulfport line, along the beach to Point Cadet and around the Back Bay to the I-110 bridge, he said.
On the Biloxi strip, where Hurricane Katrina 13 years ago leveled the hotel building closest to the beach, a new Comfort Inn is planned at the Flamingo Beach Inn.
J. Patel, who owns the Star Inn, recently bought the property and plans to build a 54-unit hotel and upgrade the current hotel at the back of the site, said Terry Moran with Moran Engineering. Moran also has brought plans for an RV park on Veterans Avenue to the city and said he has more projects coming.
Gulfport has unique problem
It’s already a banner year for Gulfport, where building permit values stand at $150 million for the year compared to $118 million for this time in 2017, a jump of 27 percent.
Island View Casino opened a new, smoke-free casino on the beach and construction is under way for the Mississippi Aquarium along U.S. 90.
Barrington Development, in partnership with Robert Lubin, is restoring two historic properties in the city — the long-empty Markham building into a Hyatt hotel and two buildings at Centennial Plaza into a Holiday Inn resort.
“It’s a huge development,” David Parker, economic development director for Gulfport, said of Centennial Plaza that is starting with the hotel and restaurants and will grow from there.
With all this development, Parker said, “I have more interest in the downtown than there are buildings available.”
Owners of restaurants and businesses in other cities want to expand and add a Gulfport location, he said, and the downtown is filling up.
“A lot of Coastal communities are very tourist based,” he said. Tourism is the biggest segment of Gulfport’s economy at 27 percent, he said, yet a lot of growth Gulfport is experiencing is community businesses.
The city is shopping for new retail development, he said, and the first Rose’s Discount Store on the Coast is opening on Pass Road.
All across the Coast
In the last 5 weeks, developers filed for $22 million in new building permits in South Mississippi, according to the Treen Report, bringing the total for the first 9 months of the year to $167 million.
Many of the new community projects will provide living space, like The Blake upscale assisted living center in Biloxi and Lighthouse Assisted Living & Memory Care in Ocean Springs.
“We’re definitely benefiting from a boom,” Ocean Springs Mayor Shea Dobson told the Sun Herald this summer. The whole Coast is experiencing a lot of growth, he said, and “Ocean Springs is right in the middle of it.”
Lovelace Drugstore and Soda Fountain, a downtown landmark on 801 Washington Ave., got a makeover and has reopened just in time for Cruisin’ The Coast. A new Woody’s Roadside restaurant is quickly rising behind the current restaurant and daily progress can be seen at The Inlet on U.S. 90, a mix of living, dining and recreation is planned.
“Mixed use is definitely the trend,” Dobson said, and that kind of development is proposed in downtowns across the Coast.
New building permits
Building permits for the last 5 weeks on the Coast show a variety of community and tourism projects. Among the largest projects are:
▪ $15.5 million for Blake @ Biloxi assisted living, 1651 Popp’s Ferry Road, Biloxi
▪ $752,000 for a day care center at 8350 Kiln DeLisle Road, Pass Christian
▪ $585,000 for renovation at Hancock County Courthouse, Bay St. Louis
▪ $565,000 for New Seaway Development office building, 14231 Seaway Road, Gulfport
▪ $550,000 for renovation of Keesler Federal Credit Union, 13083 Seaway Road, Gulfport
▪ $457,000 for Roses’s Discount Store, 1353 E. Pass Road, Gulfport
▪ $308,000 for field house at 10900 Yellow Jacket Road, St. Martin School District
▪ $285,000 for a renovation at 1521 Bienville Blvd., Ocean Springs
▪ $220,000 for renovation of Chill Lounge at IP Casino, Biloxi
▪ $210,000 for renovation of the administration office, Hancock County Port, 1310 Seaplane Road, Bay St. Louis
New businesses on the Coast
▪ Reconnect Therapy, 4211 Hospital St., Pascagoula
▪ The Show Room Dance and Fitness Studio, 1758 Market St., Pascagoula
▪ Seaside Fitness, 703 Bellande Ave., Ocean Springs
▪ Savannah & Co. Salon, 1306 Government St., Ocean Springs
▪ Singing River Hospital Cafe reopens after makeover, Pascagoula
▪ Himalayan Exchange, 1988 East Pass Road, Gulfport
▪ Goodwill Super Store & Donation Center, 2396 Pass Road, Biloxi
▪ Hospice of Light, 1121 Ocean Springs Road, Ocean Springs
▪ Friendship Oak Village student housing, 522 East Railroad St., Long Beach
Upcoming ribbon cuttings
Oct. 2 – Grand opening or restored Lovelace Drugstore and Soda Fountain, Ocean Springs
Oct. 2 – Chicken Salad Chick, 3821 Promenade Parkway, D’Iberville
Oct. 12 – Woerner Landscape, 13080 U.S. 49, Gulfport
Oct 18 - Coastal Postal, 1110 Cowan Road, Gulfport
Top Coast building permits this year
$51 million for Mississippi Aquarium in Gulfport
$15.5 million for the Blake assisted living center in Biloxi
$14.7 million for performing arts center in Pascagoula
$6.5 million for Premier Cinema opening this fall at Edgewater Mall
$5.5 million for Race Trac service station on Washington Avenue, Ocean Springs