Biloxi approaching billion-dollar mark in construction

Biloxi will soon pass the billion-dollar mark in post-Katrina construction permits, Mayor A.J. Holloway has announced.

The city issued more than $977 million in construction permits in the 26 months after Hurricane Katrina, with more than half of those permits issued for non-casino and non-condo construction.

“The number is expected to continue to increase, and increase dramatically,” Holloway said today, noting that only a fraction of the multi-million-dollar Margaritaville project has received permits at this point.

Biloxi’s Community Development Department has issued nearly 20,000 permits of one type or another since Katrina. Of the $977 million value in permits, more than $532 million is non-casino and non-condo construction.

Holloway noted, however, that only $49.7 million in permits have been issued for new homes, which translates into 331 new homes permitted since Katrina.

“Keep in mind we lost 6,000 homes and businesses since the storm,” the mayor said, “so we have a ways to go. But we’re getting there. Everyone knows the issues – the cost of insurance, if you can get insurance, the cost of construction, and the new flood elevations.”

The mayor pointed out that Keesler is in the midst of the largest military housing construction project in the history of the Air Force, which will see 1,067 new housing units built, and the Biloxi Housing Authority continues to make progress on restoration of its Hope VI project and plans for more than 1,000 additional housing units in Biloxi.

More online: Mayor Holloway touched on the myriad issues and progress of the rebuilding process during a recent speech to the Gulfport Business Club. To see the text of his presentation, click here.

News and notes

Planning Commission: The Biloxi Planning Commission meets Thursday at 1 p.m. To see the meeting agenda, click here.

Ohr launch: The Ohr-O’Keefe Museum of Art on Monday unveiled a new web site, which carries news of the museum’s plans to resume construction at its east Biloxi beachfront site on Dec. 1. To see the new web site and read about the plans, click here.

Halloween contest: Several Mississippi Gulf Coast cities will be competing for a $30,000 Jeep Wednesday night in the Gulf Coast Mayors Halloween Contest at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Biloxi. The Gulf Coast Mayors Halloween Costume Contest takes place at 9 p.m. Wednesday at Hard Rock Live. Doors open at 8 p.m. for the event, with locals encouraged to support their cities. City Historical Administrator Bill Raymond will be representing Biloxi in the contest.

Bridge update: The Postal Service this afternoon should begin delivering information about Thursday’s opening of the Biloxi Bay Bridge. More than 24,000 newsletters are being distributed to all residents and businesses in Biloxi. To see the online schedule of events — which calls for the bridge to open sometime after a parade of first responders, motorcycles and antique cars — click here.