Jackson County

$1 million lot in Ocean Springs set to go back on tax rolls

Vines obscure one of the faded murals on the old Swingster building on Government Street in Ocean Springs, which became known as Camp Victor when it housed volunteers after Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The county demolished the building and plans to sell the prime 2-acre lot to the highest bidder.
Vines obscure one of the faded murals on the old Swingster building on Government Street in Ocean Springs, which became known as Camp Victor when it housed volunteers after Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The county demolished the building and plans to sell the prime 2-acre lot to the highest bidder. jcfitzhugh@sunherald.com

Jackson County has decided its Swingster property, estimated to be worth $1 million, will go to the highest bidder.

It’s a prime piece of downtown property right in the thick of things on Government Street, so Mayor Connie Moran asked the county to set guidelines on how it might be used.

County supervisors, however, decided Monday if they can sell the 2-acre lot for the asking price, they won’t have to set parameters.

“We’ll let the market do that,” new Board of Supervisors President Troy Ross said.

The price alone should mean something good is coming, supervisors said. And any developer will have to meet the requirements of the city’s Planning Department.

“When a developer spends that kind of money, I guarantee you they’ll make the most of the property and it will be something very, very nice,” said Supervisor Randy Bosarge, new board vice president.

Downtown Ocean Springs is that valuable and that popular, Bosarge told the Sun Herald. Since the property went on the market early last year, the county has had calls from developers all over the state, he said.

As long as it sat vacant in the heart of town, the property wasn’t generating taxes for the city or county.

Bosarge said the county is making an effort to sell other vacant properties it owns, maybe as many as 100 pieces, in an effort to get them back on the tax rolls.

Late last year, the county demolished the Swingster building, which had housed volunteers after Hurricane Katrina in 2005, and the city approved a rezoning from industrial to Commercial 2. It could be up for sale by the end of the month, supervisors said.

What’s next:

▪  The county will declare the lot surplus property, which means it has no use for it.

▪  The county will appraise it and set a price.

▪  It goes up for bids.

▪  Highest bidder gets the lot as long as the bid is more than the price the county set. If no one bids that high, the county will take a different tack.

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