Plans have grown to $200 million for an expansion of Margaritaville Resort Biloxi.
The project by Biloxi Lodging LLC will bring more hotel rooms, restaurants and meeting space to East Biloxi along with what South Mississippi residents have clamored for since Hurricane Katrina destroyed so many family attractions — an amusement park with a giant Ferris wheel, plus a water park.
A development agreement will go to the Biloxi Council on Tuesday. The project includes:
▪ A hotel tower on the south side of U.S. 90 with about 360 hotel rooms, 60,000 square feet of convention space, restaurants and food venues
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▪ A hotel tower on the north side with 160 rooms plus restaurants
▪ An amusement park with multiple rides and amenities next to the current Margaritaville Resort Biloxi with a parking deck underneath.
▪ A water park on the north side of the highway.
The memorandum of understanding the Biloxi Council will consider on Tuesday includes establishing a tax increment financing (TIF) district to help pay for infrastructure once the project is built and a Sales Tax Tourism Rebate through Mississippi Development Authority. Work is expected to begin next year.
A TIF district in that area of Point Cadet could provide for improvements beyond Margaritaville, and include improvements to the marina, public boardwalks, shuttle boats to Deer Island and a parking deck financed by the developer, the city or both.
The hotel and amusement park project at Margaritaville was held up for about two years until the developers and Secretary of State came to an agreement on Tidelands property that will be used for the development to the west of the current Margaritaville.
The developer previously estimated the new amusement park and hotels will bring more than 1 million new visitors a year to Biloxi and create about 700 new jobs.