City to shop vacant Caillavet, Division properties

Mayor Andrew “FoFo” Gilich, who has turned several pieces of unused city property into tax-producing and job-creating ventures, says the city is seeking interest in another group of municipal properties to include nearly two dozen city parcels on Caillavet Street and four in east Biloxi.

This month the city published Request for Proposals for either sale or lease of the properties, and any agreements would be influenced by price, benefit to the city and community in general, and proposed use. For instance, the RFPs noted a neighborhood grocery store could be a factor in price.

Proposals, which must be accompanied by a refundable $5,000 certified check, are due to the city by 10 a.m. Wednesday, Jan. 30, and any agreements would require City Council approval.

Among the sites: 18 narrow parcels south of Division Street on Caillavet, a corner parcel at Caillavet and Division, and further east on Division, a large parcel near Oak Street that stretches from Division Street to the CSX railway and was once the site of the “city barn.” Two recreational sites, O’Reilly and Danella parks, also are included in the RFPs.

“It’s a matter of the highest and best use for a piece of property, and the city owns property all over this city,” Gilich said. “I want to see property generating something, such as property and sales tax revenue, or jobs, or a public use, or a combination of all of the above. It just makes sense.”

The city also recently entered into an agreement with Gulf Breeze Landscaping where the firm will maintain 72 parcels of municipal-owned vacant lots throughout the city. The move frees up Public Works crews to better focus on day-to-day water, sewer and drainage issues.

Gilich, shortly after he became mayor in 2015, began pushing for use of unused or under-used city property. More than a year ago, the city sold a vacant beachfront parcel to developers who will soon open a 100-room Hilton Garden Inn, next door to the work-in-progress Watermark hotel.

In February 2018, a beignet shop and restaurant opened in the old Biloxi Library, a block north of Hard Rock Hotel. The city has also awarded a lease to local businessmen to operate a bait shop and kayak rental station at Popp’s Ferry Causeway Park, and a paying tenant is now housed in the small Creole Cottage on Rue Magnolia, down the way from the Magnolia Hotel, where restaurateur Jordan Nicaud on Dec. 1 begins paying rent on the building where he has plans.

Said Nicaud, who also owns Fill Up with Billups and Bacchus restaurants: “We are very excited to be building a mixed use concept in downtown Biloxi featuring short term rentals, landscaped venue event space and a new and exciting restaurant concept focusing on New Orleans-style cuisine.”

Bait shop update: A Certificate of Occupancy is now in place for the Popp’s Ferry Causeway Park bait shop, which means operators are a step closer to opening shop, but still no word on when. Meantime, the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality has OK’d city plans to install security cameras at the site, add floating docks, plant large trees and pave the roadway leading into the park. The improved areas of the park, the easternmost tip, remain open to vehicles until 4 p.m. each day, but a nearby pedestrian gate remains open.
See an online RFP for Caillavet properties
See an online  RFP for Division and Rosetti properties
Interactive map: See the sites and details


News & notes: Reservations, traffic, heads up

Reservations: BNews Monthly, the citywide newsletter mailed each month to everyone in Biloxi, is now taking space reservations for the December issue. Interested in rates and more? Click here.

Traffic: The city’s Traffic page has a list of streets under construction, as well as maps showing MDOT traffic cameras and local traffic counts.  To visit the Traffic page, click here.

Heads up: Center Stage has a new production this weekend, you’ll find the Ron Meyers Christmas City crafts show at the Coast Coliseum, and Willie Nelson is in town. Get a head start on weekend planning by clicking here.