Zoom, zoom! Development revved up in Biloxi

I’ve been here 14 years, Community Development Director Jerry Creel says in this week’s City Desk podcast, and I haven’t seen this level of development since the pre-Katrina days.

What’s the buzz? Two hotels under construction at the moment, a third getting underway next week. A new RV park just opened in west beach, and three more may be in the offing. Restaurants in the works downtown and east and west beach. A total of 108 new homes under construction as part of 1,400 lots in 13 subdivisions. And, get this: two upscale go-cart tracks are on the drawing board for west beach.

“Our development in Biloxi is not centralized,” Creel said in the City Desk podcast, which was recorded this morning at City Hall. “It’s scattered all over the city. Unless you get out and drive around and see what’s going on, you may not realize the level of development that’s going on.

“People are beginning to see that we are a tourism city, that we are trying to get the whole package here, to go along with the museums and the historic sites and attractions that we have, so we have an adequate number of hotel rooms and other things that people can come see.”

About those go-cart tracks: Operators of the Big Play Entertainment Center at Veterans and U.S. 90 are proposing to replace the Slap Yo Mama’s barbecue restaurant with a multi-level go-cart track, and a couple blocks to the east, at McDonnell Avenue, where the Slippery Sam’s waterslide once operated, developers are proposing two figure-eight-shaped tracks and an RV park.

The tracks at the Slippery Sam’s site, Creel said, will bear the Borrelli brand and will host go-kart tournaments as part of a national series. “This,” Creel said. “will be the Ferrari of go-kart tracks.”

Creel noted that the new Hyatt Place added 114 rooms to the city’s inventory of 7,300 hotel rooms, and 132 suites are under construction at the Watermark, site of the former Santa Maria retirement home; a Hilton Garden Inn east of that site will mean 100 more rooms, and construction begins next week west of Hopkins on a 66-room La Quinta.

Add the RV parks; the restaurants, Mugshots downtown, the first-ever elevated Waffle House, a new Dunkin’ Donuts and an upscale Salt Grass restaurant planned for Point Cadet; the go-kart tracks; the housing; and you’re talking about development, Creel said.
Listen to the podcast 
See renderings in photos 
See the development list


News and notes

Popp’s Ferry  bridge work:  Motorists on the Popp’s Ferry bridge Friday morning between 8:30 and 10:30 will encounter intermittent lane closures as crews install new lights on the bridge. To see the complete lineup of road and infrastructure work throughout the city, click here.

Shuckers at home:  The Biloxi Shuckers return to MGM Park this evening for a five-game homestand against the Chicago White Sox affiliate Birmingham Barons. For details on the tonight’s game and park promotions over the next few days, click here.

Oak Street Pier:  The East Biloxi public pier restored by the Blind Tiger restaurant, at Oak Street, is now open for public use.  To see images, click here

Mugshots:  The concrete has been poured on a new downtown restaurant, Mugshots, on Main Street across from City Hall.  To see images, click here.

Happy Birthday, GEO:  Mayor Andrew “FoFo” Gilich proclaimed Wednesday as George Ohr Day in honor of the 100th anniversary of the birth of Biloxi’s Mad Potter. To see photos from the celebration at the Ohr-O’Keefe Museum of Art, click here. To see a video of the mayor presenting the proclamation, click here.

Popp’s Ferry Causeway Park:  To see images of the progress at the 10-acre Popp’s Ferry Causeway Park, on track for an April 2018 opening, click here

Down in Biloxi: Recent visitors to the city were so inspired by what they encountered, they penned a song. To listen and see the sights, click here.