City Waterfront Plans OK'd for New Federal Program, more Biloxi News

From:  City of Biloxi   4/10/18   GCN

Mayor Andrew "FoFo" Gilich's proposed development of the Point Cadet waterfront received a large boost today when the United States Treasury Department certified three Biloxi census tracts for inclusion in the federal Opportunity Zone tax deferment program.

"The Point Cadet property was part of our No. 1 proposed Opportunity Zone," Gilich said, "for the purpose of stimulating private investment in what we know will be a significant development that will celebrate our history, create jobs, increase tax revenue and help expand our tourism industry."

The Point Cadet Waterfront Enterprise development is Gilich's ambitious $75 million revitalization plan that focuses on the undeveloped green space east and north of the Golden Nugget. It includes a 200,000-square-foot building that will have ground level parking, elevated retail and commercial spaces, and offices and educational areas.

Gilich first learned of the Opportunity Zone program in January while at the White House during the annual Mayors Conference in Washington. His development team quickly put together a detailed proposal for six census tracts in Biloxi. In fact, Biloxi was the first city in the state to submit a plan to the Governor's office.

Designed to spur private investment in low-to-moderate income communities across the country, the Opportunity Zone program provides tax incentives for investors to re-invest their unrealized capital gains into Opportunity Zones designated by the chief executives of every U.S. state and territory. Gov. Phil Bryant submitted 100 Mississippi census tracts to Treasury and all 100 were certified.

Biloxi had three of its six proposed qualifying census tracts certified by Treasury. They are in east Biloxi: from Oak Street east to the bridge from the waterfront north to Back Bay; from Oak Street west to Bohn Street and from the beach north to Howard Avenue; and from Main Street west to Seventh Street and from Back Bay south to Howard Avenue.

"The three zones selected in Biloxi will help focus development interest in areas still struggling to recover from the devastation of Hurricane Katrina," Gilich added. "Besides giving us a huge boost with our Point Cadet plans, the Opportunity Zones selected for Biloxi will help us with Downtown Revitalization and with our ongoing efforts to stimulate jobs and populations increases in Ward 2."

Biloxi awaits final Treasury Department guidelines for implementing and managing local Opportunity Zone development.

See the approved zones

Spring Break vendors renting front beach properties

Over the years, two "park-n-play" lots, heavily promoted on social media for months as "Spring Break headquarters," have been the focal point of Spring Break activities near the Coast Coliseum, which has its own array of activities under the banner of "Black Beach Weekend."

The Coast Coliseum has thousands of parking spaces that will be open for Spring Break, and a host of property owners along front beach - including Michael L. Shuler, RW Development, Sundance Capital Investments, South Beach North and Gulf Beach Resort Hotel - are leasing property to individuals to either sell parking spaces, food or beer.

As of April 6, a total of 20 vendors have applied for and received city permits to sell food, beer or parking at private properties they have rented along the front beach, according to records from the city's Community Development Department.

See the list of locations, vendors and property owners


Released by Vincent Creel and Cecilia Dobbs Walton