Holloway updates new casinos, Point development

Here is the edited text of Mayor Holloway’s presentation for the Biloxi Chamber’s Breakfast with the Mayor,” conducted May 16, 2012 at Edgewater Mall.

I want to thank Terry Powell and his staff at Edgewater Mall for hosting us today. Terry, y’all do a great job here.

I think all of you can see what we have going on here in west Biloxi. The new Walmart, the Stein mart coming to Edgewater Village, the Dunkin’ Donuts is staying busy over on Pass Road, the McDonald’s will be coming back on the beachfront, and there’s a lot more in store.

We’re just as excited about what’s happening on the eastern end of town. Anyone who owns a TV knows that Karen Sock is excited about Margaritaville opening up next week.

I took a tour the other day, and it’s great. You’ve got the seaplane hanging from the ceiling, a giant volcano with a water slide into a giant blender for Margaritas, and the booths in the restaurant are made of real hardware and real fittings from boats.

They’ve already created 965 jobs. On Tuesday night of the opening, they’ll be renting hundreds of hotel rooms for the out of town guests here for the opening.

And this fall, they’ll be working with the Isle to co-host a 900-person convention. The Isle will provide the rooms, and Margaritaville will provide the convention space.

Speaking of the Isle, let’s not forget about what’s happening there.

In nine months to a year, we ought to be seeing a new name at that location, the Golden Nugget Biloxi.

We’ll see a 150 million dollar renovation that will mean all new hotel rooms, a new pool area that will be located to the left of the driveway, restaurants like Morton’s, Vic and Anthony’s, and Charthouse.

Golden Nugget also plans to add retail to the property. We’ll see the return of convention space, which was all so important before Katrina.

They’re planning to go before the Planning Commission on the 7th, and be before the City Council on the 17th of June and break ground, I hope, in July.

Next weekend, promoters say we could see as many as 40,000 people at Point Cadet for Party on the Point. The reason they are so high on this is because of the talent lineup and the ticket prices.

They have Buddy Guy, a four-time Grammy winner and a member of the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame, the Fabulous Thunderbirds, and two monster country acts, Sawyer Brown and Northstar.

And the ticket prices are like $20 a day or $54 for the weekend. That’s about half of what you’ll pay at the Gulfport Music Festival.

Quite frankly, I think there will be room for both events. The demographics are different. The Gulfport show has some country but it’s mainly hip hop. The Party at the Point is for an older group, sort of the Jimmy Buffett era.

And I remind you of the Biloxi Boardwalk and Marina. They’ve been blowing and going. They had a big boat show a couple of weeks ago, they have a speckled trouble tournament this weekend, and a poker run with 300 boats in mid-June.

They already offer 400 slips – that’s 300 inside and 100 outside, high volume diesel fuel (50 gallons a minute), a ship store, bait and tackle, and in about 30 days you ought to be seeing a live bait shop open there.

In September, their new restaurant and bar will be opening.

Now, don’t get the idea that east Biloxi and west Biloxi are the only happening places.

McElroy’s Restaurant is scheduled to open next week. Sharkheads to open early June and you’ll see the Santa Maria Del Mar open in June.

We issued permits for six new homes in Villa Tuscano on Atkinson Road last week, and we have two new subdivisions under construction off Woolmarket Road. They are Mill Creek Crossing and Rock Creek.

The DRC recently approved a hotel expansion for Hard Rock Casino, a new Gulf Coast Veterinary Clinic on Oaklawn Road, a new VFW on Veterans Road, a new church building for Seashore Methodist Assembly and a new Parish Hall for Church of the Redeemer on Popp’s Ferry Road.

We’ve also issued a building permit for the White Pillars, where they are still be tight lipped about the big name coming in there.

Now, let’s talk about our infrastructure work.

Back in the old days, before Katrina, we used to do about 16 million worth of major projects a year. Right now, our Restore Biloxi infrastructure project has about 16 million dollars worth of work under construction.

We expect to begin another 2½ million dollars worth within a month, and this summer we’ll be adding another 30 million dollars worth of work.

We’re 95 percent complete out in the Sunkist and Ancient Oaks area. We ought to be finished in those neighborhoods in early June.

Our Restore Biloxi program also included the water and sewer work on Fifth Street leading into Margaritaville. That portion of the work is complete.

We’ll be wrapping up in the areas north of Old Bay Road November, and we just started on a year-long project in the Hollywood Hills area.

This summer we expect to be awarding more than $30 million worth of work that will include infrastructure in in Channel Mark, Cove Drive, Eagle Point, Cedar Lake subdivision, Savannah Estates and Destiny Plantation.

OK, I’m done.