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D'Iberville shopping center could lose $96 million tax incentive

CBL & ASSOCIATES 
 A site map on the Gulf Coast Galleria website, which is propopsed for construction in D'Iberville.
CBL & ASSOCIATES A site map on the Gulf Coast Galleria website, which is propopsed for construction in D'Iberville.

A $96.3 million tax incentive for the proposed Gulf Coast Galleria shopping center in D'Iberville could disappear July 1 after the state Senate adopted an amendment Wednesday to Senate Bill 2922.

The bill, which now moves to the House for more work, also would kill the incentives for shopping centers in Flowood and Ridgeland.

Sen. David Blount, D-Jackson, said the program wastes money because it creates low-paying jobs and competitors for existing malls.

Owners of the three malls applied for the tax incentive before lawmakers ended applications for the "cultural retail" program. The developers could get a total of $175 million if the program isn't discontinued.

Under the Tourism Tax Rebate Program, the state returns 80 percent of sales taxes that are collected at the shopping center to the developer, or up to 30 percent of the development costs.

Plans for Gulf Coast Galleria have changed from an indoor mall to an outdoor environment since it was first announced. The 130-acre site is southwest of the Interstate 10/110 intersection in D'Iberville and local developer Bob Mandal with Ramco Development told the Sun Herald the cost is $350 million and the project would bring an estimated 2,500 jobs to South Mississippi.

Although SB 2922 could hurt D'Iberville, it would provide additional money to rehabilitate historic structures in the state. Gulfport has asked for funding to redevelop the former VA site and the Markham Hotel and Biloxi is seeking money for repairs to the Saenger Theatre.

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