City issues $40 million in permits in 10-day period

The city issued $40 million in commercial and residential construction permits in the past 10 days, another sign that the economy is turning the corner, according to Community Development Director Jerry Creel.

Creel recently presented a report to the Biloxi City Council that included a map showing the locations of $767 million in commercial and residential growth in Biloxi since Katrina. At the same time, the map shows a roller coaster ride in the valuation of permits issued each year, with construction permits dropping from $200 million in ’07 to $78 million only two years later. The story was the same for residential construction.

The influences remain the same and are myriad, Creel said. They include the cost of insurance, construction and the ability to obtain financing, the economic downturn, the uncertainty before the extension of the GO Zone tax credits and the Bush tax cuts. And in Biloxi, having the east end of the city now situated in a flood zone and residents still seeking casino-style prices have exacerbated the issue.

“And,” Creel said, “let’s not overlook the impact of the uncertainty created by the BP oil spill.”

All of these issues have had a detrimental impact. The fact is, Creel said, “For every project that the city approved and got its financing, there were probably three that didn’t get the financing.”

However, he sees reason for optimism.

In the past 10 days, construction permits have been issued for
Margaritaville ($29 million), Southern Tire Mart ($2.5 million),
Palace Casino Smoking Lounge ($1 million),
City of Biloxi Fire Station repairs ($1.1 million), new Dollar General Store ($681,000),
Cypress Park Office Building ($350,000), café renovation at Jeff Davis Elementary School ($209,000), and two stores at Edgewater Mall (Champs Retail, $177,000; and Express, $100,000).

Additionally, 10 permits for new single family homes — $1.6 million total — were issued, and licenses for 13 businesses were issued.

“New construction is underway throughout Biloxi,” Creel said. “Even Pass Road is beginning to make a comeback. The new construction of the Beauvoir Pass Development, the New Dollar General Store, and the new Family Dollar Store in an area that hasn’t seen new construction in a long time.

“We’re looking for the trend to continue, particularly with the tax incentives that we’ve put in place for developers.”

See for yourself: To see the map that Community Development Director Jerry Creel presented to the City Council, click here.

News and notes

Meeting tonight: Sunkist and Ancient Oaks residents received their invitations last week, but here’s a reminder: The city and HNTB, the firm overseeing the massive infrastructure repair and replacement initiative, will hold a meeting this afternoon at 5:30 at Sunkist Country Club to brief residents on the upcoming work in their neighborhoods. To see the invite, click here.

Traffic Friday: Cars lined up on Popp’s Ferry Road waiting to enter North Bay Elementary School each morning and afternoon will be a thing of the past come Friday, thanks to a new traffic plan that Biloxi Public Schools introduces Friday morning. To see the school’s notice on the plan, which requires morning and afternoon school traffic to enter North Bay from the south, click here.