Ten condos’ approval lapses

The approvals have lapsed on one-third of the condominium projects planned for Biloxi. That is 10 out of 30 projects, including Revelay Condos near the Coast Coliseum and Vue Crescente on the Back Bay, which was being considered as a casino site. Other less known projects, such as Beau Soleil Condos and Benachi Bay Townhomes, also had their approvals lapse.

“We feel it’s a combination of things,” said Biloxi Community Development Director Jerry Creel. His department hasn’t received notice from the developers of any of the 10 projects that they want an extension and he feels “they probably just lost track of time.”

Others may have changed their plans because the condo market has cooled since these approvals were given in 2006, not long after Hurricane Katrina.

Creel said once the developers see the published list, they will likely come to the city and ask for an extension. That process starts with the Design Review Committee, which will make sure the developers aren’t making any major changes to the approved master plan. The Biloxi Planning Commission and City Council will also have to approve any extensions, as they did recently with the Broadwater Casino and the site of the former Holiday Inn in front of the Coast Coliseum.

Minor changes can be approved by the DRC but if the developers decide to change their plans substantially and build hotels rather than condos, “They would have to come back,” said Creel, and go through the approval process again.

Two condo projects are under construction in Biloxi: South Beach Condos on Beach Boulevard and Sand Dollar Condos on McDonnell Avenue.

Last year the city issued 347 permits for $348 million in commercial construction and Creel said the numbers are fairly strong this year. Insurance continues to hold back development, but he said he is confident the problem is being solved and the city will be bombarded with projects.