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tombarnes

Gulfport

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Two New Hotels for the Gulfport Airport

A Hilton Garden Inn and a Marriott Residence Inn will be built near the Biloxi-Gulfport International Airport. Construction is expected to begin this summer. The two hotels should be a catalyst for further development in the area. Furthermore, the hotels will provide a valuable asset if the cruise industry decides to set up shop in Gulfport.

The Sun Herald

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Island View Opens Phase Two

The second phase of the expansion of the Island View Casino opened yesterday. The expansion doubles the gaming space available to visitors and includes a new restaurant and lounge. Phase Three will occur in June when Emeril Lagasse opens his restaurant. The hotel plans to renovate the former Grand Casino hotel tower as the fourth phase of the expansion.

The Sun Herald

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Grants for Facade Restoration

One sign that downtown Gulfport may be on the verge of revitalization will be the facade restoration grants which should improve the shell-shocked buildings in the area. If successful, this could do more than almost any initiative so far, at least in terms of regaining a spirit of progress and movement. Larger projects, such as the port and the casinos proposed there, will take much longer. The residents of Gulfport need a visible sign of progress and this may be one way to get there.

The Sun Herald

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Emeril Lagasse Prepares to Open Restaurant in Gulfport

Emeril Lagasse, known for his restaurants in New Orleans, LAs Vegas, Orlando and elsewhere, will open Emeril's Gulf Coast Fish House at the Island View Casino this week. The space features tables with glass inlay, a 4000 bottle wine tower, open kitchen and so on. It should serve to heat up the local restaurant scene.

The Sun Herald

Photos

The Sun Herald

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St. Peter's Rebuilds

One established church which won't be moving away from the Gulfport waterfront is St. Peter's Episcopal Church, a Gothic-revival structure. It's worth noting that the present structure is not old at all, having been completed in 2000. The church hopes to celebrate Christmas services in the restored sanctuary, though the reconstruction of the parish hall and other ancillary buildings won't begin until after the main building is rebuilt. They are to be commended for not selling their property and running north.

WLOX Channel 13 News

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MDOT Says it Can't Demolish Motel

The Mississippi Department of Transportation has taken the site of the destroyed Best Western motel through eminent domain, but now says it cannot demolish the ruined building because there are people living in it. While this is an obstacle, it shouldn't be too difficult to get whomever is living there out of the building before it is demolished. I hope this won't drag on forever, as the building is really an eyesore and is unfit for occupancy of any kind in its present condition.

The Sun Herald

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Gillich Drops Plans for Night Club

Mike Gillich Jr., whose father served time in federal prison for his part in the deaths of Vincent and Margaret Sherry in 1987, has dropped plans to open a night club on Pass Road in Gulfport. There was significant opposition to Gillich's plans in the neighborhood. It's probably for the best that this has been dropped, but there's not guarantee that another proposal won't surface in the future.

The Sun Herald

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Port Expansion Clouds View from Casino

The owners of the Island View Casino are none too happy that the recebtly announced expansion plans at the Port of Gulfport will render their name meaningless. As Rick Carter said, "we don't want to be known as the Industrial View." This aside, the larger questions of importance are whether the economic benefits of an expanded port would be worth the ugliness which said expansion would surely create. This does not even bring into play the volatile question of the diversion of housing money for Katrina victims to fund the expansion. Not wanting to be a mugwump about this, I'll just go ahead and venture that this might not be a great idea.

The Clarion Ledger

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Veteran's Administration Hospital Site- Repairs Before Turnover?

The old VA hospital in Gulfport will now apparently be repaired before it is turned over to the city. This will add months to the previously supposed schedule of the handover. The suggestion that all of the buildings on the site should be demolished is unfortunate, as it appears that the main building could possibly be salvaged in some way. What is most important here is that this crucial site should be developed in a significant way. The parcel of land represents a tremendous opportunity for, most likely, a resort development which could be pivotal for the city- and possibly the Coast as a whole. If not developed appropriately, it will represent a loss of opportunity of the greatest magnitude.

Gulf Coast News

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Smart Code....Optional?

I'm at a complete loss to understand how Mr. Warr could suggest that Gulfport's Smart Code building codes should become optional. Gulfport is one of the few cities on the Copast which has tried to implement stringent codes. It appears that the mayor is caving in to the wishes of developers. If there were ever a time for stronger building codes on the Mississippi coast, the time is now. Codes don't really have any meaning whatsoever if they are optional.

The Sun-Herald

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Facade Grants to Spruce Up Downtown Gulfport

$4.5m. in facade grants will help shattered downtown Gulfport to put its public face together again. About sixty property owners (roughly 100 buildings are involved) will split the grant money and architectural work should be done in about 60 days. Given the slow recovery in Gulfport so far, this could only improve things. If Gulfport chooses Andres Duany and his firm to revitalize much of the city later this month, things will be looking all the better.

WLOX Channel 13 - video clip included

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Andres Duany in Gulfport

Noted planner and architect Andres Duany is in Gulfport for ten days to refine planning efforts to rebuild the city's downtown area. Efforts will center around the small craft harbor and the old VA property. It is good to see that Gulfport is moving in a positive direction.

WLOX Channel 13 News

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Plans Received Well- So Far

The initial plans for the rebuilding of downtown Gulfport have been received well thus far. At a meeting at the Handsboro Community Center tonight, Andres Duany laid out his case for building a hotel on the site of the library and building a commercial venture on the site of the old VA hospital. The latter idea was not received well be all, but it is unrealistic to assume that this very valuable land would not be used- at least in part- for commercial purposes. The city must receive tax revenue if it is to survive. I agree with the gentleman who questioned the wisdom of building to meet FEMA elevation requirements. If it's not needed in the Caribbean, then why here? All in al, this appears to have been successful. Getting it off the drawing board and into reality may well prove to be a different matter.

WLOX TV Chanel 13 News - video included

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DPZ Plans for Gulfport

THe DPZ team presented plans at the conclusion of their charrete last night in gulfport. The plans are impressive and appear to have been received well. One important piece of news is that the older buildings on the site of the Veteran's Administration Hospital may be saved instead of demolished. There are a number of renderings in the attachment to the article below.

The Sun Herald

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I'm not sure how this rather routine hotel renovation fits in with the new plans for Gulfport, but it's going ahead to completion in May anyway. The former Holiday Inn Beachfront is being turned into a Courtyard by Marriott. The interesting thing here isn't the hotel itself, but that the project had been scheduled to begin construction on the day Katrina struck. I hope to visit the area some time later this spring.

The Sun Herald

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Markham Deadline

A deadline of March 15th has been set for the owners of the Markham Building to produce a plan for the building. While the article says specifically that the building is not endangered immediately, another two years of abandonment could spell its end. The best use for the building would be its restoration as a hotel. More likely is a restoration or renovation as an office buiilding. The article notes that the hotel closed in the 1940's. As far as I know, it did not close until the 60's. In any case, the building cannot continue in its present state for long.

The Sun Herald

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Grass Lawn

One of Gulfport's major landmarks, the early 19th century house, Grass Lawn, was obliterated by Katrina. Plans to rebuild the house have suffered a setback by the city council. Why they would need more time to study the issue of rebuilding the house when it would cost virtually nothing is simply beyond my understanding. Any additional fundss fpr the reconstruction of the house beyond the $500,000 grant are likely to come out of insurance proceeds. Rebuilding the house which is on the city's seal should be an important goal. Is there more at work here than I know?

The Sun Herald

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I have not heard about the plans for the tower, though there was talk a few years ago about its being renovated into additional rooms for the Island View Casino. I'm not sure it is worth saving at this point. The building was hardly an ornament to the city. It will be intreresting to see whether or not the DPZ plans for the city have addressed this property or not. I'll try to do a bit of research. Of course, the port expansion plan has turned just about everything in that area of downtown on its head. Until the issue is resolved, there may not be much action here.

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Louisiana Developer Has Plans for the Markham

A developer from Louisiana wants to convert the former Markham Hotel into apartments. While this sounds like a great idea, I'll be happier when I know who this developer actually is. This could be very good news.

The Clarion-Ledger

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Louisiana Developer Has Plans for the Markham

A developer from Louisiana wants to convert the former Markham Hotel into apartments. While this sounds like a great idea, I'll be happier when I know who this developer actually is. This could be very good news.

The Clarion-Ledger

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Veteran's Hospital Property- Gulfport

The old VA hospital site in Gulfport is pivotal for the future of the city. While the government has yet to turn over the property to the city for redevelopment, this has not stopped controversy from swirling around the site. Nearby residents are opposed to anything which would include dense commercial or condominium development. It's patently absurd to imagine that such an important parcel would not be developed without a certain density. More important, it's best to see that the more significant buildings on the property are reused in a way which would preserve something of the character of the site. I could see the main building being turned into a resort hotel with condos built nearby. If not condos, what do the residents expect to see here. Green space? Not likely. This is too important for the future of the city not to get the mix right. Real thought and planning need to go into this.

Gulf Coast News

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One Sound Off in the Sun Herald recently suggested tearing down the fences in the back of the VA property, and making an east-west road on the southside of the railroad tracks. Might be feasible, and another east-west route is needed badly.

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VA Property Turned Over to the City of Gulfport

In a somewhat surprising move, the Veterans' Administration has turned over all 92 acres of the old VA hospital property to the city of Gulfoport in one piece. This means that plans for the eventual redevelopment of the parcel can now begin in earnest. It is likely that part of the property will be developed as a hotel. Other commercial interests on the site may be developed also, but concerns over high-rise condos on the property may keep this in the realm of a development for potential tourists. The bones of the original buildings suggest that a handsome hotel could be created on the site. Andres Duany may have his hand in the development of the property as well. Time will tell whether or not this property meets its potential. This is an especially large and important parcel. Great care must be taken to ensure that whatever is built here is architecturally significant.

The Sun Herald

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