Harrison County

New upscale neighborhood, high-tech jobs could come to Biloxi

“The beautiful life” could be coming to Biloxi in the form of a 626-acre housing and commercial development in Woolmarket, as well as hundreds of jobs that could come with a high-tech Biloxi Biometrics and Cybersecurity Center.

But the City Council wants more information on both before approving them.

Woolmarket residents held signs in the council chamber Tuesday showing they want smart development and smart zoning in their neighborhood.

Councilman David Fayard, who represents Woolmarket, called for a public hearing on the Belle La Vie subdivision, whose name means “the beautiful life” in French. That meeting would be to answer residents’ questions. It will be held before the council votes on whether to rezone the 626 acres for mixed use of single-family homes, multi-unit housing and commercial.

Wayne Hengen, attorney for Pitcher Point Development, said developers have already invested $12 million. He said they have plans to build Belle La Vie in 22 phases.

“That’s intentional,” he said. “It’s to pace the growth.”

Hengen said he expects 10,000 to 12,000 new Biloxi residents when the project is complete.

“It just makes sense for Biloxi,” Mayor Andrew “FoFo” Gilich said. New east-west and north-south connector roads are part of the project, with the developers donating rights of way for them.

“People are moving to Woolmarket, so doing nothing is not an option,” Gilich said.

The mayor earlier called for a workshop that was scheduled for 4 p.m. Feb. 7 to explain the “significant opportunity” that could come to Biloxi with a cyber-center.

Gilich described it as a “world class” tech opportunity that can be done only in South Mississippi.

Gerald Blessey, attorney for the city, said it could bring hundreds to possibly 1,000 high-tech jobs to Biloxi.

The proposal will call for the state legislature to approve a local and private bill to establish a nonprofit group to get the center moving, Blessey said.

“The deadline is not there yet,” Blessey said of submitting the legislation, “but it’s coming.”