Dormant Walmart site could see new tenants

An agreement in the works between the city and the Southern Mississippi Planning and Development District could see as many as five new businesses locate in the former Walmart location on Pass Road in west Biloxi.

Mayor Andrew “FoFo” Gilich is asking the City Council on Tuesday to allow the development district to continue working on a proposal and return with a contract for the city to consider.

Under the agreement, the new owners of the property, which has been vacant since 2014 when Walmart relocated to a new superstore on C.T. Switzer Sr. Drive, would share in any increased sales taxes generated by the new businesses, which have not yet been identified.

The development district has been negotiating with the new owners, BYTAR, a Dallas-based development firm.

“This is an excellent plan,” Mayor Andrew “FoFo” Gilich said. “It incents development and job creation but requires no upfront money from the city. It helps this developer clinch the deals on bringing in national-level retail outlets. The city would be creating new jobs and enhanced property taxes at a location that has been dormant for four years now.

“What are we giving up? A share of some sales tax revenue that we don’t have at this location right now.”

Gilich is asking the City Council for the authority to continue negotiations with the staff of the development district, which is also working on the city’s downtown restoration plan and helping finance two new fire stations in north Biloxi. The development district would return to the mayor and council with an agreement to administer the program.

“This redevelopment program, if approved, is something that we can employ in other areas of the city where we have vacant big-box buildings,” Gilich said. “The thing to remember is that it’s not just about the vacant Walmart building. It’s also about the increased interest and traffic that it would generate for any properties located nearby.”
See the Pass Road redevelopment resolution
See the complete City Council agenda and supporting documents


Court affirms city’s action in Fayard Street case

The Mississippi Court of Appeals has unanimously affirmed that Biloxi was in its right to realign Fayard Street and vacation a portion of the northern end of the street at Bayview Avenue.

The decision, which had been appealed by a nearby pawn shop, will allow the city to move forward with the realignment of Fayard Street and will allow IP Casino Resort & Spa to complete its parking lot on the south side of Bayview.

The case began over two years ago with an application from IP to the Community Development Department.

The project, as originally proposed by IP, will remove the offset intersection that currently exists and realign this area of Fayard Street to create a four-way intersection, with better traffic control and pedestrian access.

The plan, which was approved by the Biloxi Planning Commission and City Council in 2015, allows IP to move forward with plans to build an improved and fully landscaped parking lot with 627 spaces on the south side of Bayview.
Read the Court of Appeals finding


News and notes: Cemetery tours, week that was, a Fall Muster visit

Cemetery Tour extended:  The 11th annual Cemetery Tour, which this year features a host of period-garbed re-enactors representing leaders of Biloxi’s tourism industry of yesteryear,  takes place Tuesday from 4 to 7 p.m at the Old Biloxi City Cemetery.The free self-guided, continuous tours begin at 4 p.m. instead of the originally scheduled 5 p.m.  The extra hour was added because torrential downpours forced the the cancellation of the Sunday’s kickoff. The Biloxi city cemetery is at 1166 Irish Hill Drive. Those attending can park at the Biloxi Elks Lodge, which is immediately to the west of the cemetery.To see the program, click here

The week that was: Last week, the Fire Department answered 136 calls for service including 84 for medical emergencies and four fires; the Police Department handled 2,165 calls for service; the Community Development Department issued 71 building permits with a construction valuation of nearly 275,000; and the Engineering Department continued to progress on projects throughout the city.  To see the complete reports, click here. 

Muster talk: Although Beauvoir’s Fall Muster faced  its share of weather issues over the weekend, the annual event nonetheless captured statewide positive note for Biloxi and Beauvoir: The Jefferson Davis Home and Presidential Library.  That’s thanks to talk show host J.T. and his statewide radio program on the SuperTalk Mississippi network. To watch a brief video interview from the Beauvoir visit, click here