Harrison County

Margaritaville gets a step closer to new amusement park, first flying bar in U.S.

Plans for a waterfront amusement park and other development at Margaritaville Resort Biloxi got the blessing of the Biloxi Council on Tuesday.

The council approved updates to the master plan, which Community Development Director Jerry Creel says changes it from a casino district — that was in place when Casino Magic operated there — to a planned hospitality district.

The changes also expand the footprint of the original development so the developers can move ahead with construction.

Councilman Kenny Glavan is employed by Biloxi Lodging LLC, which operates Margaritaville, and was out of the room during the discussion and vote.

The property in East Biloxi, south of U.S. 90, was cleared in the spring. Representatives of Biloxi Lodging said construction will begin when summer vacation ends.

Biloxi Lodging announced plans for $200 million in development in stages, beginning with a Boardwalk amusement park built adjacent to the current resort, along with another hotel tower.

The amusement park will be elevated atop a parking garage, so that visitors will be able to walk to it directly from the Escape arcade and the hotel water park.

Among the rides will be a huge Ferris wheel looking out over the water to the barrier islands and the first AEROBAR ride in the United States.

This ride, with its center bar that rises with it into the sky, should appeal to Parrotheads, who follow all things Jimmy Buffett.

“It’s not a thrill ride-it’s a View ride,” said Cono Caranna, spokesman for Biloxi Lodging and Barrington Development, the company that also restored the White House Hotel in Biloxi and is restoring Centennial Plaza and the Markham hotel in Gulfport along with the former Santa Maria in downtown Biloxi.

Related stories from Biloxi Sun Herald