Jackson County

Ocean Springs is finally getting a boutique hotel, of sorts

This new commercial complex on west Porter Avenue announces the plan for a boutique hotel among the businesses.
This new commercial complex on west Porter Avenue announces the plan for a boutique hotel among the businesses. klnelson@sunherald.com

It looks like Ocean Springs is getting its boutique hotel, after years of trying.

However, this one is not stand-alone.

It's part of a commercial complex downtown called The Porter House, but it has a website that touts the city's French heritage, free-roaming roosters and six high-end guest suites.

It is planned as a collection of suites available for short-term rental, according to builders and city officials, but there will be a check-in desk and retail space for guests.

The sign says “Boutique Hotel coming soon January 2017.”

The website promises a French-inspired boutique hotel, and the project is sure to have that feel.

It may just be the type of “hotel” housing in the city that works best with downtown, developer Vicki Rosetti-Applewhite told the Sun Herald recently. She has vacation rental by owner units that she manages.

When she was discussing the best use of a two-acre lot she owns downtown, she said, she's in no hurry to sell it to commercial development like a multi-story boutique hotel, because she's not sure that's what the city needs.

She said she and her husband are watching to see if the growing business of bed-and-breakfasts and short-term rentals satisfy the city's demand.

The hotel is the middle section of a 9,000-square-foot, $1 million commercial development at 604 Porter Avenue.

It's on the up-and-coming west end of Porter Avenue an alternative to the higher cost of renting business space on Government Street and Washington Avenue.

The city is working on a $1.2 million investment in street, sidewalk and drainage improvements for the area.

At The Porter House, there will be office space on one side of the hotel section and on the other side, Eat Drink Love Catering and Gourmet Grab-and-Go.

Joe Cloyd is one of the investors working on the development, and said the investment group was encouraged by the street improvements.

The hotel guests are sure to make use of the sidewalks that will connect it to the main downtown intersections.

A boutique hotel has long been a goal of city leaders.

The city bought property on Government Street in 2011 in hopes of attracting a three-story boutique hotel, and hotel developers out of Hattiesburg looked seriously at the prospect, even came up with drawings.

The project did meet resistance from some residents in the area because of the height, but more important, the developer decided not to take it on after several years of looking.

That space is now a much-needed, downtown parking lot on Government Street.