$150 million ‘world class’ resort and convention center proposed in Biloxi

Talk about building a second convention center in East Biloxi — close to the thousands of hotel rooms at Biloxi casinos — has turned into a proposal for a $150 million, “world class, waterfront, mixed use convention center and retail project.”

The project could encompass the historic Tullis Manor site. The manor was destroyed during Hurricane Katrina and the waterfront property, owned by the city, remains empty. Or it could be another site.

Details of the new resort proposal will be part of Tuesday’s Biloxi Council meeting, and the council will vote whether to approve:

A joint feasibility study to look at whether a convention center and retail complex east of Interstate 110 in a good option and what is the recommended size and location. The developer will pay for the study, estimated to cost $150,000 up to $250,000. The study it also will look at the economic impact, the jobs the project would create, the taxes it would generate and possible public grants and private funding.

Following the study, the city will pay up to $250,000 in pre-development costs for the site, as needed for professional services and the up-front costs for public and private grants, loans or bonds

A $50,000 non-refundable option to purchase the former Tullis Manor site at 947 Beach Blvd. and other city-owned properties for the project.

The developer listed on the council resolution is BBR Biloxi, which was incorporated Oct. 10 in Delaware. The same Baton Rouge address on the resolution is the address of Bbr Development, incorporated in Florida in 2017.

The Mississippi Coast Coliseum in west Biloxi has more than 400,000 square feet of convention space, and hasn’t yet been able to get a hotel built on site.

At a meeting in Biloxi in September to look at development of the East Biloxi waterfront, Chett Harrison, general manager of Golden Nugget Casino Biloxi, said a convention center in that area would bring more people to the city mid-week.

Biloxi has a beautiful waterfront, he said, but the challenge is how to use it to attract business from out of town. A convention center would energize the waterfront year-round, he said

The waterfront is the focus for restaurants and attractions in other cities, Biloxi Mayor Andrew “FoFo” Gilich said at the waterfront meeting. Work is beginning to build a boardwalk along the shoreline and bring other development in East Biloxi.

“Our fuse is lit,” Gilich said.