It's taken years to pull together an agreement and on Monday, Matt McDonnell got a 5-0 vote from the Harrison County Supervisors to approve construction of an Embassy Suites by Hilton or similar hotel at the Coast Coliseum & Convention Center.
McDonnell is executive director of the Coast Coliseum & Convention Center and he's worked on bringing a convention center hotel, along with former director Bill Holmes, since Hurricane Katrina.
Details of the agreement were part of the agenda for the supervisors' meeting Monday in Biloxi. The county has oversight of the Coliseum Commission.
Broadwater View Partners of Atlanta, Georgia, agrees to build a hotel with 300-350 rooms and design, construct, operate and maintain the hotel at its expense.
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The company also agrees to build:
▪ A minimum of 5,000 square feet of meeting facilities
▪ Restaurant and lounge
▪ Climate controlled walkway to the Coliseum that connects to Convention Center
▪ Sidewalks from the hotel and any other needed improvements to allow hotel guests to walk to the beach
The Coliseum Commission will lease the developers the 6.57 acres of land north of U.S. 90 and southwest of the Coliseum and Convention Center, for 99 years. The lot is in the parking lot in front of the convention center.
Rent is based on land value of $4.5 million, and the developer will make a one-time payment of $3 million within 10 business days of the lease being signed. No rent is due for first 3 years, and rents will increase gradually from $102,000 in years 4-10 up to $112,000 for years 91-99.
The agreement says both the Coliseum Commission and the developer "agree the primary purpose of the hotel is to foster the increased use of the convention center." A block of rooms will be set aside at the hotel to accommodate those attending conventions or events.
Milton Segarra, executive director of Visit MS Gulf Coast, said a headquarters hotel is something to shout about, since many conventions won't book without an on-site hotel.
"We now belong to another category of destinations," he said, and he predicts all hotels in the area will benefit because one hotel won't be enough to accommodate the additional convention business.