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View Full Version : MISSISSIPPI GULF COAST | (Biloxi, Gulfport, and other MS Coastal Cities)



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Velastor
Oct 23, 2007, 5:22 AM
I've just been waiting for something to get posted that I could talk about. :). The only way we will see a developer coming in to buy the smaller casinos and reinvested millions into them is if they stop allowing people to build more casinos on undeveloped land. Its much easier to build a casino from ground up with the developers planned ideas than it is to modify an existing casino. Atm biloxi really doesn't have many small casinos, so this really doesn't apply very much right now.

I believe that if the market continues as it does with super casinos being built the smaller casinos will suffer. They will always have their base and those that want to avoid the crowd, but the will have a hard time being very competative unless they make something that lets them stand out from the crowd.

The Palace has a reputations for being really good at everything, although it is small. I think Treasure Bay will need to find something similar to make sure that it has something to make it stand out as well.

While thinking of casinos going under, do you think someone would ever redo the Lady Luck Casino that was bought out by the Grand Casino several years back. At least I think thats what happened, I wasn't concern with casinos t\back then to remember the exact details.

Red UM Rebel
Oct 23, 2007, 5:34 PM
I believe that if the market continues as it does with super casinos being built the smaller casinos will suffer. They will always have their base and those that want to avoid the crowd, but the will have a hard time being very competative unless they make something that lets them stand out from the crowd.

While thinking of casinos going under, do you think someone would ever redo the Lady Luck Casino that was bought out by the Grand Casino several years back. At least I think thats what happened, I wasn't concern with casinos t\back then to remember the exact details.

Small casinos cannot make it anymore in the market. You are right, they do have their base, but if casinos like Treasure Bay, Boomtown, and maybe even (although I doubt it) the Palace do not expand, they might not be around much longer. Now the Palace has made evident their plans to expand, definately since they have not really done much but repair since they lost their barge. Boomtown also has slowly been buying land around its casino which would make one think that it will expand also. With Bacaran, Vieux Crescente, and Margaritaville eventually entering the market and two in D'Iberville, the day of very little capital casino is over.

To answer your question about the Lady Luck. It was built by a group of investors. The area where the casino was though is being developed into a shopping complex to go along with the Margaritaville Casino. There will be about 250,000 sq. ft. of shopping built there which is by far the largest shopping complex around in Casino. It will be developed by Simon Properties which is the largest developer of high-end malls in the nation.

If you look back at all the casinos that have not made it in the past close to twenty years, you will find one common thread, most did not have a hotel or any other capital invested in it other than a barge. The Jubilee in Bay St. Louis, the Lady Luck, the Biloxi Belle, and the Gold Shore all did not have any other capital. I think the city or state has even said that only so much of your casino can be gaming space, but I am not totally sure what the rule reads.

BLX 101
Oct 24, 2007, 10:25 PM
Prior to Katrina, I had been looking forward to the redevelopment of Treasure Bay after coming across the same rendering at Dale and Associates web site in late 2004 or early 2005. Although I liked the pirate theme, I must admit that I like the new modern theme better. Susan Varnes of Treasure Bay says that eventually they will develop condos on the south side of 90. I do believe that a few smaller casinos can survive if they invest in the neccessary amenities. There are people who prefer the more quaint and less crowded casinos. However, they are more prone to buy-outs from larger established companies with deep pockets.

BLX 101
Oct 24, 2007, 10:43 PM
I apologize! In a previous post I stated that the proposed casino immediately east of Boomtown was Back Bay Casino Resort, but the actual official name is Bayview Resort and Casino. I tried to find an online image but was unsuccessful. A rendering is on page 140 of the past June-July 2007 issue of beach blvd. The magazine is published by SunHerald News. The web site is below with access to previous issues but I was unable to pull up that particular issue. You may be able to stop by or contact Sunherald to purchase the past issue of June-July 2007 beach blvd.

http://www.beachblvd.biz/news/Biloxi/BeachBlvd/20071001/p01.asp

BLX 101
Oct 24, 2007, 11:00 PM
From the limited renderings of Harrah's Margaritaville, the former Lady Luck property, which is on the west side of Oak Street, will not be touched in this development, although there is a mountain of rocks being piled there from the former Grand Casino excavation. Margaritaville along with Simon's 250,000sf of retail is all on the east side of Oak Street to include the Casino Magic site.

BLX 101
Oct 24, 2007, 11:37 PM
Posted on Sat, Oct. 20, 2007
Judge's ruling upholds high-rise approval
By MICHAEL NEWSOM
mmnewsom@sunherald.com


LONG BEACH -- A judge has ruled in favor of the city in a case challenging the August 2006 approval of a high-rise development known as Pitcher Point Condominiums.
Circuit Judge Stephen B. Simpson recently ruled the city's zoning ordinances allow officials to approve a residential development in a commercially zoned district, when the planning commission approves of the decision.

Simpson also determined that the developers were able to ask for a "conditional use" exemption to the zoning law to allow condominiums, and the city was within its right to grant the exemption if the city finds the project is "viable as well as valuable to the residents" and if the developer submits the appropriate documentation.

The ruling clears the way for construction to begin on the project that the Board of Aldermen approved on Aug. 15, 2006 as a 420-unit high rise. Creekstone Pitcher Point LLC is the developer.

Mayor Billy Skellie said Friday the judgment upholds the city's ordinance and should help alleviate any confusion over the same issues in the future.

"It is good to know that the next time somebody wants to test the ordinance that is in the place now they can refer back to this ruling so they won't waste their time," Skellie said. "A judge will throw it out, whenever they bring it to him instead of delaying projects like this one has done."

Residents Stephen W. Piazza, Michael D. Strachan, David Youmans, Cynda Youmans, Ferdinand Pecoul, Linda Pecoul, Paul Taylor, Susan Taylor, Robert Munkel, Mary Munkel, Dr. Hurd Gaddy, Denise Gaddy and Georgina Bart had asked the court to reverse the city's approval and return the issue to the city for further consideration.

The group had alleged that the city had acted outside the purpose of its ordinances, but Simpson denied the request and his order said the project is now approved.


http://www.msbusiness.com/article.cfm?ID=2838


http://www.redpepperinvestments.com/TheReserve.html

Red UM Rebel
Oct 25, 2007, 1:10 AM
I apologize! In a previous post I stated that the proposed casino immediately east of Boomtown was Back Bay Casino Resort, but the actual official name is Bayview Resort and Casino. I tried to find an online image but was unsuccessful. A rendering is on page 140 of the past June-July 2007 issue of beach blvd. The magazine is published by SunHerald News. The web site is below with access to previous issues but I was unable to pull up that particular issue. You may be able to stop by or contact Sunherald to purchase the past issue of June-July 2007 beach blvd.

http://www.beachblvd.biz/news/Biloxi/BeachBlvd/20071001/p01.asp

Thanks so much for the idea. I actually contacted Dale/Morris architects, and they were unable to release the latest renderings of the project. I would really like to see what they are planning there.

Velastor
Oct 25, 2007, 3:42 AM
The casinos are getting pumped up about the Bridge reopening. I got this from Jackpotmagazine.com

Bridge provides new access to casinos

BILOXI — When the first two lanes of the Biloxi Bay Bridge open on Thursday, Nov. 1, the cities of Biloxi and Ocean Springs will once again be connected, making it easier for casino guests to get to their favorite places to play. Biloxi casinos are celebrating the long-awaited event with a variety of activities, including fireworks, entertainment, promotions and more.

The festivities start with motorcycle riders being the first to cross the bridge. After the ceremonies at the bridge, Hard Rock Cafe will host the Biloxi Bay Bridge Motorcycle Parade at 2 p.m. A special limited-edition pin commemorating the event will be released to the public at this time. A limited edition $5 gaming chip will be available at Hard Rock beginning Wednesday, Oct. 31.

A performance by Creedence Clearwater Revisited at Hard Rock Live will take place at 8 p.m. Tickets are $20. Tickets are on sale now at the box office and all Ticket Master locations and online. Additionally, fans can also enter a drawing to win a Harley Davidson motorcycle, with proceeds benefiting the Muscular Dystrophy Association. The winner of the motorcycle will be announced at 10 p.m. that evening at the Biloxi cafe.

Several casinos have teamed together for a fireworks display that will light up the night sky. The display will be synchronized to music on radio station 105.9 FM beginning at 7 p.m. Spectators on both sides of the bridge will be able to see the dazzling show, which is being choreographed by Pyrotecnico, a fireworks and special events company known for its brilliant shows.

Sponsoring the fireworks are Beau Rivage, Boomtown Casino, Grand Biloxi Casino, IP Casino, Resort & Spa and Isle of Capri Casino Resort.

The Isle of Capri Casino is also giving players the chance to win up to $20,000 in cash and IslePlay. Each day from Nov. 1-17, IsleOne members who swipe their card will also have the chance to win $100 cash, free IslePlay, two-for-one buffets, drinks at Lava bar, hotel stays or extra entries into the grand-prize drawing.

The grand-prize drawing will take place on Saturday, Nov. 17, starting at 6 p.m. Drawings will occur every 30 minutes for $1,000 in IslePlay or $2,500 cash, until the final drawing at 9 p.m. for $10,000 cash. Winners must be present to win and will have five minutes to claim their prize before another entry is selected.

For rules and regulations, visit www.isleof-capricasino.com/Biloxi.

Palace Casino Resort is anxiously awaiting the opening of the bridge, as well, and the casino resort is introducing a new advertising message to direct guests to use the new bridge as a “Shortcut to the Coast.”

Palace guests will also have a shortcut for numerous ways to get free slot credits. Palace players receive points for their play which they can convert into slot credits; free Power Play slot credits with the purchase of a lunch or dinner buffet at Palace Buffet; new players club members receive free slot credits just for join- ing the free club; and Return Rewards slot credits for their next visit.

The bridge, which was damaged by Hurricane Katrina on Aug. 29, 2005, will open in its entirety in Spring 2008.

Red UM Rebel
Oct 26, 2007, 4:37 AM
All these are my friends. All these are my friends," said Larry Westbrook, as he looked into the crowd of former residents and employees of the Armed Forces Retirement Home.

It was part homecoming and part family reunion along Anniston Avenue Thursday morning. Many held cameras while others proudly wore military hats. They came to bid a building farewell.

"Well, we're looking forward to it coming down, so we can get one built back up so we can come back down here again," said former resident Dick Chitwood.

Former residents and employees awaited the implosion with somewhat heavy hearts.

"Worked in the resident affairs office for 11 years and loved it. Great atmosphere," said Terry James, "Very many good memories. A whole lot."

Karey Garrett was among the former employees who awaited the tower to come down.

"Enjoyed every day. Loved it. I had to be to work at seven, but I was always there at five thirty every morning," he said.

A siren signaled three minutes. Three minutes until former resident Bill Parker pushes the button to make it happen.

"Kind of a bittersweet, You hate to see it come down, but if it don't come down, the new one can't go up," said Parker.

Then came the countdown: three, two, one!

A series of concussions shook the ground as the 11 story tower began its tumble. In a matter of moments, a cloud of dust, a small mountain of rubble and a stubborn elevator shaft that simply refused to fall was all that remained.

"It's not going to give up the ghost yet," joked one of the veterans in the viewing crowd.

"Yeah, it's bittersweet," said Chitwood, "But we need it coming. We need closure to get back to business."

Cleaning the rubble comes next. Construction on the new retirement home begins the first of next year. The demolition contractor says that stubborn elevator shaft will simply be knocked over with a crane.

Yates construction was awarded the $188,000,000 contract to build the new retirement home. The project is scheduled to be finished by the summer of 2010.

By Steve Phillips


LINK (http://www.wlox.com/Global/story.asp?S=7266817&nav=6DJI)

Red UM Rebel
Oct 26, 2007, 4:39 AM
There will be no gaming in Jackson County if Governor Haley Barbour has his way. In just a few weeks, Jackson County residents will vote on whether or not they want the Choctaws to build a casino on Highway 57. Governor Haley Barbour says he's already made up his mind.

"As long as I'm governor, it won't happen," Barbour said.

Governor Barbour believes the Choctaws plan to turn 100 acres it owns in Jackson County into a $375 million casino resort.

"It is absolutely not fair to have a casino in Jackson County that doesn't operate under the same rules as Harrison County. That's one of the reasons I'm against it. But I'm also against expanding gaming beyond the counties where it is now," says Barbour.

When the issue of gaming came to the coast, both Harrison and Hancock Counties jumped on board, Jackson County did not and the governor wants it to stay that way.

"The window has been open for about 15 years, and I believe that all the counties who want casinos already have them. That's why I've advocated that the legislature close the window," Barbour said.

1992 was the last time Jackson County residents voted no on gaming. Now that the dynamics of the entire Gulf Coast have changed, proponents say the casino will create the economic boost Jackson County needs. But Governor Barbour says he won't change his mind.

"I've said from the start I'm against it. When I ran for governor four years ago, I said I am against expanding gaming beyond where it is now," Barbour agrues.

He believes the residents of Jackson County and the Bureau of Indian Affairs will vote against the Choctaw Casino proposal but if they don't, it still won't happen under his watch.

"If for some stupid reason the Bureau of Indian Affairs agrees to it, I will not approve it. As long as I'm governor, it won't happen," Barbour said.

The Choctaw casino referendum on November 6th, is non binding, meaning the ultimate decision rests with the governor and the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

By Elise Roberts

LINK (http://www.wlox.com/Global/story.asp?S=7261369&nav=menu40_3)

Velastor
Oct 26, 2007, 5:45 AM
I haven't heard a single whisper about the Tivoli since the mayor vetoed the zoning change. Does anyone know what they are doing now, are the looking for a new spot, giving up, or hiring a team of the devil's closest friends (lawyers, sorry if you are one :P) to send the city into chaos :haha: ?


I haven't been to Biloxi since July, what progress has been made on the Margaritaville, BacaranBay, and Isle construction sites?

Red UM Rebel
Oct 26, 2007, 3:10 PM
I haven't heard a single whisper about the Tivoli since the mayor vetoed the zoning change. Does anyone know what they are doing now, are the looking for a new spot, giving up, or hiring a team of the devil's closest friends (lawyers, sorry if you are one :P) to send the city into chaos :haha: ?


I haven't been to Biloxi since July, what progress has been made on the Margaritaville, BacaranBay, and Isle construction sites?

I can answer your first question, and hopefully BLX can answer your second. (BLX if you a camera and can ever get around one day to take pictures of everything, I think we would all appreciate it! :) )

The Tivoli thing is dead right now. I would not be suprised if the current owners of the property try to sell the property and possibly get land elsewhere in Biloxi. If the property cannot even get rezoned through the city, one would have to guess that there is no way the state would pass the project, at least not yet. Mayor AJ did make a good point though. Development is already allowed from Point Cadet all the way around to the IP. There has been millions of dollars spent by the city to get that area ready for development, and it would be a shame to slow development down there if they started letting casinos build on the beach.

BLX 101
Oct 27, 2007, 9:28 PM
I can answer your first question, and hopefully BLX can answer your second. (BLX if you a camera and can ever get around one day to take pictures of everything, I think we would all appreciate it! :) )

The Tivoli thing is dead right now. I would not be suprised if the current owners of the property try to sell the property and possibly get land elsewhere in Biloxi. If the property cannot even get rezoned through the city, one would have to guess that there is no way the state would pass the project, at least not yet. Mayor AJ did make a good point though. Development is already allowed from Point Cadet all the way around to the IP. There has been millions of dollars spent by the city to get that area ready for development, and it would be a shame to slow development down there if they started letting casinos build on the beach.


Bacaran Bay have only done drainage and ground work to clear what looked like debris from previous landfill. They hope to officially break ground by the end of the year. Margaritaville is moving along. Until now, all the work has been ground. Over the last few weeks they have been pouring footings with steel rods protruding out of the ground. I suspect by the next two months, we'll start seeing above ground forms being poured. I hope that Harrah's will soon have an official Margaritaville site with additional renderings and a live site cam. The Isle has completed its footings but construction work seems to have slowed. They did post in the SunHerald recently that they were reviewing their master plan to ensure that they remain competitive in the changing market. Regarding the Tivoli, at this weeks city council meeting I spoke with Kenny Lobell (partner in Biloxi Capital) and he informed me that they remain committed to the Biloxi casino project. He told me about another card they will play and that Gulfport is also an option. Mayor Holloway and others suggested that the Tivoli project would be ideal for the Broadwater site but the owners of that property is in serious negotiations with another major player that will develop the entire two hundred plus acres.

Velastor
Oct 28, 2007, 12:39 AM
Its good to hear the Broadwater might finally get a casino to develop their property, it was a big let down when the foxwoods casino fell through.I wish the Diamondhead site would also find a developer, because it was also a let down when Trump turned down that site.

Red UM Rebel
Oct 29, 2007, 3:52 AM
Google finally updated the Satellite images of Biloxi. They no longer show right after Katrina damage. It is nice because you can see the imprints of the Bacaran, Margaritaville, and Vieux. You can also see several of the condo projects in West Biloxi going up!

BLX 101
Oct 29, 2007, 3:48 PM
Its good to hear the Broadwater might finally get a casino to develop their property, it was a big let down when the foxwoods casino fell through.I wish the Diamondhead site would also find a developer, because it was also a let down when Trump turned down that site.


I was never convinced that Foxwoods was the best fit for Broadwater. I envision something like a Wynn Resort or Borgata.

Red UM Rebel
Oct 29, 2007, 8:41 PM
I was never convinced that Foxwoods was the best fit for Broadwater. I envision something like a Wynn Resort or Borgata.

I disagree, the Mashantucket Pequot are into developing massive amounts of property, so they could have brought their experience to the table to develop the huge foot print that is the Broadwater. I do not believe they would have developed nearly the world class destination that another team might develop, but I believe it would have at least been about 1000 times nicer than what was there.

I am once again going to state my pessimism about Wynn developing there. Not that I think it is an impossibility, I just do not want to let myself begin to think how incredibly awesome that would be. Whatever eventually goes there though will be huge and probably be the number one destination in the state if not the entire South East. There is just soo much potential.

Your mention of the Borgata is interesting because something of a joint venture between two large groups is possible for that site. Something like the Borgota casino and its new Water Club hotel could work well on a site that large.

Velastor
Oct 29, 2007, 8:53 PM
Is the Broadwater site within Keesler's fly zone?

Red UM Rebel
Oct 29, 2007, 9:03 PM
Is the Broadwater site within Keesler's fly zone?





In my opinion, if anything is developed south of Bacaran Bay, it would most likely be a condo project and definitely not forty stories which isn't allowed because it is within Keesler's air space. The Broadwater property and far east Biloxi is out of their air space. Forty stories have already been approved for the Broadwater property, and the Vieux Crescente although slated for thirty stories, will be taller than both the Beau and IP. I believe eventually a forty-plus story tower will be approved for east Biloxi as the Grand, Ilse and Palace are all outside Keesler's air space. The Palace's expansion plans have been public knowledge; a second hotel tower (though no specifics has been given) and a land based casino expansion was approved early 2006.



I am not sure Velastor, but BLX says it is not.

Velastor
Oct 29, 2007, 10:33 PM
As long as residence don't complain the developers of the Broadwater will be able to build whatever they want. I wish the portofino at the Broadwater was still going to be built. Last I heard it was scrapped. I look forward to seeing what they will do with the island where the old casino was docked. I hope it includes some sort of tower or maybe a restaurant over looking a redone marina.

Red UM Rebel
Oct 30, 2007, 12:34 AM
If I had to speculate on what was going to be built is that the portofino "style" will come back. They might even build two casinos. One smaller on the island with a super "ritzy" condotel that looks over the water. The other across the street with a huge casino, huge hotel/condotel, and huge shopping complex that will connect to a very nice redone golf course. The only way Wynn would take the project is because he would be able to redo another golf course which is like his favorite thing to do.

Imagine the old Grand Biloxi site except more upscale and the Grand Bear attached to the resort

Velastor
Oct 30, 2007, 3:43 AM
I just wish some details would be released, this waiting is getting old :P. People say that info is coming soon, but how soon is soon.

BLX 101
Oct 30, 2007, 5:21 PM
If I had to speculate on what was going to be built is that the portofino "style" will come back. They might even build two casinos. One smaller on the island with a super "ritzy" condotel that looks over the water. The other across the street with a huge casino, huge hotel/condotel, and huge shopping complex that will connect to a very nice redone golf course. The only way Wynn would take the project is because he would be able to redo another golf course which is like his favorite thing to do.

Imagine the old Grand Biloxi site except more upscale and the Grand Bear attached to the resort

I agree 100% with your assessment of Broadwater's future and Steve Wynn. The Broadwater property would be an excellent site for him to duplicate his Wynn Las Vegas Resort and the adjacent Tom Fazio golf course.


http://honeymoons.about.com/od/lasvegashotels/ss/Wynn_Las_Vegas_7.htm

Red UM Rebel
Oct 30, 2007, 6:55 PM
Debris field from Katrina forced changes
By RYAN LaFONTAINE
rlafontaine@sunherald.com

LINK (http://www.sunherald.com/417/story/175810.html)

BILOXI --When the new Biloxi Bay Bridge opens Thursday, motorists will notice a slight bend at each end of the 1.6-mile span.

To help build the $338 million bridge in record time, the state Department of Transportation began construction on land at the same spot the old bridge began, matching the new bridge up with U.S. 90.

However, underwater debris and pieces of the old Katrina-destroyed bridge were in the way, forcing MDOT to alter the path of the new bridge.

The old bridges in Biloxi and Bay St. Louis were straight spans over the bays, but the new ones are anything but.

"One of the main reasons we veered off the way we did, especially in Biloxi, was to get away from the debris field and allow the contractor to come in and start working," said Harry Lee James, MDOT's chief engineer.

Debris and pilings from the old bridge were later removed.

Like the Bay St. Louis Bridge, the new Biloxi link was built using the design-build method, a relatively new concept for MDOT.

The method allows construction crews to build the bridge while engineers are designing it, which could shave years off the construction time.

The Biloxi Bay Bridge dips south at both ends and the Bay St. Louis Bridge swings north.

In Bay St. Louis, the bridge was shifted to help MDOT engineers revamp the U.S. 90 curve through Henderson Point.

"You had basically a 90-degree curve to Bay View (Avenue in Henderson Point) and we elected to stay elevated and smooth that out until you get to Bay View," James said last week. "We didn't have any similar situation at Biloxi."

Velastor
Oct 31, 2007, 1:18 AM
There is an article about the Broadwater at gulfcoastnews.com


http://gulfcoastnews.com/GCNnewsBridgeBroadwater103007.htm


It seems that developers have talked with them, but they haven't exactly picked which developer they will pick. It looks like it will be late winter or early spring before we hear any details. :(

Red UM Rebel
Nov 1, 2007, 1:31 PM
Resort will not have a casino
By MARY PEREZ
meperez@sunherald.com


LINK (http://www.sunherald.com/business/story/177410.html)

BILOXI --Revelay resort has both the location - beachfront next to the Mississippi Coast Coliseum - and excellent timing.

Michael McNeil, marketing director for Revelay developer Sterling Resorts, said they are still shooting to start construction by the end of the year, making it one of the first condotels out of the ground in Biloxi since Hurricane Katrina.

The resort's name comes from the words "revel" and "play," and because of the proximity to both the beach and the Convention Center, "It was designed around vacationing families and conventioneers," said McNeil.

Families will come for the waterpark, arcade and water attractions. Sterling just completed a smaller water project at one of its properties in Florida, and McNeil said, "It's been an amazing success," with 99 percent occupancy. They spent $3.5 million at that resort and he said it's almost a water park. "We're spending $10 million at Revelay."

That will build a Lazy River the length of two and a half football fields, dancing fountains, waterfalls and separate lagoon pools for children and adults.

Those who come to Revelay on business will find walking paths to the adjacent Convention Center, a health club and spa, indoor and outdoor conference facilities and cafe, a business center and concierge service.

What Revelay won't have is a casino, said McNeil, although they will shuttle guests to nearby casinos in Biloxi.

The mix of hotel suites and resort condominiums will be a two-phase project with construction on the east wing first. "All activities will be delivered in the first phase," McNeil said.

The developers plan to pre-sell about 75 percent of the first phase of the resort before construction begins. "We're in the final push," he said.

"We're seeing a lot of investors," McNeil said. "The GO Zone seems to be the carrot on the cake" that persuades them to buy. The project is also drawing people who love the Coast way of life, the Jet Skis, golf and beach, and McNeil said these people intend to use the resort's rental program to help pay for that lifestyle.

Destin-based Sterling proposes a total of three Mississippi Coast condominium projects with a combined construction cost of $400 million. Revelay should open by the end of 2009 or early 2010. The company also plans to manage a rental program at Sea Breeze condominiums in Biloxi.

Red UM Rebel
Nov 1, 2007, 1:32 PM
By STAN TINER
tiner@sunherald.com

LINK (http://www.sunherald.com/417/story/177373.html)

It's just a bridge, isn't it?

Like any other bridge, a man-made physical structure. Conceived in someone's mind, put on paper with specifications, renderings and the like, beginning at point A and ending at point B.

Oh, you may speak of the blood, the toil and the tears that are a part of the alchemy of such a thing, but in the end it is a man-made object intended to transport cars and trucks and motorcycles and the people who drive them, and their passengers, over a particular body of water to destinations they have chosen. That is the way of humankind; we are captains of our universe, determined to overcome the impediments to our own inconvenience in such ways as the bridge provides.

We enjoy the sense of dominion these edifices provide.

So for all of those years before Katrina we drove across the bridge that spanned Biloxi Bay almost oblivious, even indifferent, to its physical presence, noticing it only occasionally when it opened its jaws wide to allow a boat to pass, slowing the rush of life to a standstill, requiring us to stop and to rest above the tranquil bay, perhaps to spy a gull or a fisherman and to envy their freedom.

Until Katrina. Until August 29, 2005.

On that awful day the old bridge was swept away, with the physical Mississippi Coast we had known and loved. When the mighty storm passed, all that stood where the bridge once rode above the waters were the concrete piers on whose shoulders the bridge had rested. Those piers remained as silent sentinels to our memories, like an honor guard to our sense of loss.

Far to the west the bridge that united Pass Christian and Bay St. Louis across that great bay had also fallen before the surge, so the people of South Mississippi, who had been united by the bridges over the two bays, were separated in a way that could be felt in the foundations of their souls.

It was when you looked at the emptiness where both bridges had stood that you perhaps best understood the task that lay ahead.

So even as individuals and families began the task of getting on with their lives, cleaning up and laying the foundation for the future, the same was taking place in the two bays. Slowly the forms of new bridges began to emerge across the waters like sea monsters, teasing the viewer with the promise of a formidable creature.

When the first span over the Bay of St. Louis opened in May, we came to understand better how much such a thing can affect a place. Perhaps we couldn't say the words in precisely the way we felt that moment, but God knows we could feel the moment in our throats, and we could feel the tears on our faces as we rode again from one side to the other, repeating the experience a few times in succession just because we could, and because it felt so good.

Now we arrive at this time of anticipation - only hours now - before the opening of the Biloxi Bay Bridge, and can confess a sense of childlike wonder, such as on the night before Christmas when our expectations are high and we can hardly sleep knowing of the goodness that awaits us.

But it's just a bridge, isn't it?

Oh no, this is not just a bridge - it is the hopes and dreams of a people realized. It is a ribbon of steel and concrete that reunites a people whose communities have been severed for too long. The bridge represents a reunion of family and friends who yearn to be as connected as they once were, and who will be very soon.

It is not just a bridge; it is our bridge, a gift from the generous American people who have given us so much already and now the wonderful expression of their love for the people of South Mississippi.

Our spirits soar and our prayers of thanksgiving are uttered with fervent appreciation.

Oh no, this is not just a bridge, it is the span that connects us to the future we are building, and its destination is the hopes and dreams that live in the hearts of all who will travel the way that will carry us from here to there.

Red UM Rebel
Nov 2, 2007, 4:07 PM
By ANITA LEE
calee@sunherald.com

LINK (http://www.sunherald.com/201/story/178322.html)


BILOXI --Construction could begin in January on two hotels in Biloxi, if the City Council follows the Planning Commission's recommendation Thursday to approve variances for a Hilton Garden Inn.

Developer Mike Boudreaux said a 145-room Hilton would be built in tandem with a Crowne Plaza hotel, both planned for the Rodenberg Avenue area.

Linda Hornsby, executive director of the Mississippi Hotel & Lodging Association, told commission members the Coast had 17,400 hotel rooms before Hurricane Katrina and only 11,000 now. Biloxi, she said, has a little less than 60 percent of the rooms available before the storm.

She said most of the projects approved lately in Biloxi have been condominiums.

A hotel project with the respected Hilton name would be welcomed, Hornsby said. "As far as we're concerned," she said, "it can't get started soon enough."

Executive Planner Ed Shambra said the staff had no major problems with the variances, which included 20 percent more pavement than allowed for the lot size, 17 fewer parking spaces than required and a third entrance off Rodenberg. Two main entrances/exits will be on U.S. 90.

The seven-story hotel falls within height restrictions designed to protect Keesler Air Force Base's mission. The property is just west of Rodenberg Avenue. A small hotel already operates at the back of the lot and a Star Inn sits next door. East of Rodenberg are a Holiday Inn and the Crowne Plaza site.

The commission also improved expansion of a Woolmarket RV park from 14 to 49 sites. The staff had recommended against it, Shambra said, because the development will rely on a lagoon for sewage treatment. The owner, Ellen L. Thomas of Gulfport, also operates neighboring Oaklawn Mobile Home Park.

Red UM Rebel
Nov 5, 2007, 2:30 PM
by Keith Burton - GCN 11/2/07
Photos - GCN

LINK (http://www.gulfcoastnews.com/GCNnewsTrafficAlreadyHeavyonNewBridge110207i.htm)

It didn't take Coast motorists long to start using the newly opened Biloxi Bay Bridge on U.S. 90. Since the bridge opened partially Nov. 1 with two lanes, a steady stream of traffic has been moving over the elegantly curved bridge that spans the Biloxi Bay between Biloxi and Ocean Springs.

Even while the first two lanes are open, work crews are busy with the south lanes, which are actually on a separate structure. The entire bridge, when finished will have six lanes and an additional four pull-off lanes. The entire bridge is to be finished in April.

What is clear is that the ride is smooth and picturesque. The brilliant white of the bridge's guard rails add a lot to its appearance. The rails, which are concrete, are interspersed with slots so that you can see across the bay and gulf.

The view from the 95 foot high elevated section is spectacular and traveling either toward Ocean Springs or into Biloxi are impressive. Motorists familiar with the way the old bridge used to challenge a vehicle's suspension with constant up and down movements will find the new bridge extremely smooth.

Motorists traveling east in the far left lane on U.S. 90 will have to be careful to merge right in front of the Isle of Capri to enter the bridge.

Red UM Rebel
Nov 7, 2007, 2:39 PM
By MARY PEREZ
meperez@sunherald.com

link (http://www.sunherald.com/278/story/182341.html)

PASCAGOULA --Jackson County voters said no to a Choctaw casino in their backyard by a 60-40 margin.

With 100 percent of the precincts reporting, 18,435 voted against a Choctaw casino at Exit 57 of Interstate 10 to 12,183 who voted for it.

The early numbers had it a much closer race, but as the count continued, the margin spread.

Opponents of the casino gathered in Ocean Springs to hear the election reports. “It has been a fight,” said Eleanor “Cissy” Jordan, with Jackson Countians Against Choctaw G a m i n g . “ C l e a r l y tonight, the voters of J a c k s o n County have now spoken and sent the m e s s a g e , ‘We do not want a Choctaw casino here.’ “

She said former Choctaw Chief Philip Martin had pledged, and the Tribal Council had passed a resolution saying that if the people didn’t want a casino, the Choctaws would not build one in Jackson County. She hopes new Chief Beasley Denson will abide by those promises.

The non-binding referendum doesn’t carry any weight other than to give an indication of local sentiment. The Choctaws can still petition the Department of Interior’s Bureau of Indian Affairs for permission to build the casino.

George Skibine with the Department of Interior said more important than a referendum are the views of the local governments involved, “and essential is the support of the governor of the state.” Gov. Haley Barbour, who won re-election Tuesday night, has frequently said he opposes expanding casino gambling into Jackson County.

Skibine added, “Only four tribes have secured a governor’s concurrence for an offreservation casino under Section 20(b)(1)(A) of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act since 1988.” That is the exception the Choctaws would come under.

Chief Denson said last week that if the referendum went against the casino, the tribe will talk to the governor about how they might proceed. “Who’s to say we might not build in Harrison or Hancock counties?” he said. “Then we become just another casino.”

Just so it isn’t in Jackson County, said Jordan. “We have shown our strength on this issue, but if anyone, including Chief Denson, has other ideas, we are ready to do battle again.”

The Choctaws may hold a press conference today.

Velastor
Nov 7, 2007, 11:02 PM
Isle of Capri ends lease on Coast project
The Clarion-Ledger

Two months ago after saying it planned to invest much of its $435 million capital projects fund for the fiscal year on a west Harrison County development, Isle of Capri Casinos announced today it is terminating the lease related to that project.

The lease allowed for termination if all of the conditions, including those related to obtaining permits and approvals, were not satisfied or waived within the timeframe provided in the lease. Once the lease is terminated, the company said it will record a pre-tax charge of approximately $5 million related to costs previously capitalized in connection with the proposed development, according to a news release from Isle of Capri.

In September, chief operating officer Virginia McDowell told the Hattiesburg American the Isle of Capri was reevaluating its expansion plans in Biloxi and for its proposed Pine Hills Casino in western Harrison County.

She said the company was beginning to develop new master plans for Pine Hills, just off I-10 in Harrison County, and for the land it owns in Biloxi.

McDowell told the newspaper in September that the competitive landscape and new management in Biloxi prompted the Isle to review the expansion plans. She said much of the $435 million the company plans to spend on capital projects for the fiscal year was tied to moving forward with the west Harrison project and rebuilding the Biloxi casino.

Isle of Capri Casinos, founded in 1992, has 18 casino properties, including those in Biloxi, Lula and Natchez.

----------------------------------------------------------------------

I read through this several times and I "think" it looks like they are gonna take that extra 400 million and possible use it all on expanding their biloxi casino. The Pine Hills looked promissing before, but with Biloxi pushing ahead of all the other sites along the cost I think it would be a good idea for them to build one large, amazing casino in Biloxi than 2 okayish casinos. After yall read this I would like to know if yall agree that this is what the statement is saying.


Also I think it was great that the Jackson county voters turned down the casino and maybe the tribe will just enter the market like a normal casino company and build it in one of the other two counties. That way it will be fair and they will pay a tax that will benefit the local people.

Red UM Rebel
Nov 8, 2007, 9:02 PM
Yea, there was a similar article in the Sun today. It makes me wonder what they are planning. Either something massive for Biloxi or possibly pulling out?

Velastor
Nov 8, 2007, 9:58 PM
Well a pull out would be really stupid. The Isle has the best land because they own the land on both sides of US 90 coming off the Biloxi Bay Bridge. I hope that build something massive and use up both sides of the road. They will need something large and unique if they plan to compete with Harrah's because they seem like they have plans to steal the Beau title as top dog.

BLX 101
Nov 8, 2007, 10:14 PM
I'm an employee of the Isle and I guarantee that pulling out of Biloxi is not an option.

Velastor
Nov 8, 2007, 10:36 PM
Thats good, we can put those fears to rest. As an employee do you have any inside information ;) .

Red UM Rebel
Nov 9, 2007, 5:07 PM
I would not imagine that they would, but it is very good to hear. I cannot wait to see what they are planning!

BLX 101
Nov 9, 2007, 11:59 PM
Thats good, we can put those fears to rest. As an employee do you have any inside information ;) .

They are tight lip right now. Prior to an announcement in the media several weeks back regarding the resort reviewing their master plans, there were monitors throughout the casino with renderings of the exterior, interior and layout of the new floor plans. Due to Margaritaville and other major casinos that is slated to be under construction in Biloxi over the next several years, that includes the Broadwater, Bacaran Bay, Vieux Crescente and possibly the Tivoli, management thought that maybe their plans were not good enough to compete with what is to come. Last night, a co-worker shared an interesting rumor. He said that he heard the company are considering converting the Biloxi Isle of Capri Casino into Biloxi Rhythm City Casino and build a larger Isle on the new property they own north of 90. IOC has a Rhythm City Casino in Davenport, IA. A very interesting idea indeed. :cheers:

Velastor
Nov 10, 2007, 1:30 AM
Rebuilding the Isle north of 90 would make it easier for them to make the resort top notch. That would prevent them from needing to tear down stuff. Maybe the company will offically release info on whatever they have planned soon.

Also is the Rhythm City Casino a blues themed casino? I tried to find some pictures of the casino, but had zero luck.

I wonder where they would put the overpass for people to walk between the two casinos.

BLX 101
Nov 10, 2007, 3:59 AM
There is pedestrian passage underneath both the Biloxi and Ocean Springs end of the new bridge.

Velastor
Nov 10, 2007, 5:15 AM
Ah, I had forgotten about that being underthere. Maybe it would inspire a boardwalk to link the marina by the Isle with whatever they build on the north side of 90. At least maybe the city would want to since they own that marina.

Red UM Rebel
Nov 11, 2007, 2:45 PM
It would be very nice to see the Isle build a mega resort right there on the point. I assume the land north of 90 is the Point Cadet Plaza area. That is very interesting info BLX, and it really does make some sense. Do you think if they were to rebuild another Isle they would go after four/five diamond award?

Red UM Rebel
Nov 11, 2007, 5:54 PM
~from WLOX
LINK (http://www.wlox.com/Global/story.asp?S=7339414&nav=6DJI)


After some setbacks from Hurricane Katrina, a Biloxi beachfront condo is open for business. Friday, community members helped the owners of the 22-story Beau View Condominiums celebrate its grand opening.

According to Davis Companies, 90 of the 99 units put up for sale have been sold, and two thirds of the buyers will be living in their condos. Company president Stefan Davis said he looks forward to the next construction phase, which could include two or three more towers.

"We've realized where we have some tweaking to do within the building and within the site, and we're in the process of making those modifications. And we're really excited about the rest of the development," Davis said.

As part of the celebration, Davis Companies made a $20,000 donation to the USO.

Red UM Rebel
Nov 11, 2007, 8:28 PM
Here is an excel file I have on the Coast and development. I would love additional comments on things I need to add. Hopefully this works well.....

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2291/1970539285_70b569a3ea_b.jpg

Velastor
Nov 12, 2007, 12:31 AM
There was an article in the Sunherald today about the Palace seeing an increase in visitors since the bridge opened. I'm wondering if these are new people or people that are using the bridge instead of I-110. Would be interesting to see if the IP and Beau have noticed a decrease in visitors.

Red UM Rebel
Nov 12, 2007, 2:54 PM
Velastor, I would bet it is both. The bridge opening was national news because my uncle in Alaska called me about it. It really is a true signal that the Coast is once again open for business. I would also bet though there are several people that have been back to the Coast since Katrina and were just waiting on the bridge to open again to stay at Palace, Isle, etc. so they could have easy access to Ocean Springs.

I think BLX would have the best answer though. BLX your thoughts? (Do you think if they were to rebuild another Isle they would go after four/five diamond award?)

Red UM Rebel
Nov 14, 2007, 2:50 PM
School to be built at Tradition
By MELISSA M. SCALLAN
mmscallan@sunherald.com

LINK (http://www.sunherald.com/business/story/187817.html)

GULFPORT --Ralph Noonkester was president of William Carey College in Hattiesburg in the 1970s when he realized the school needed to expand and purchased land from the Gulf Coast Military Academy on U.S. 90 in Gulfport.

Noonkester, now president emeritus of William Carey University, was on hand Tuesday when officials unveiled plans for the school's new campus at Tradition Properties on Mississippi 67.

"We're excited to have reached these important milestones and look forward to seeing these drawings turned into reality," said Tommy King, president of the university. "We believe that the Tradition community vision, amenities and residential options will provide a significant advantage as we recruit students, faculty and staff to the university."

Tradition is a planned community that will have homes, businesses, schools and hospitals on nearly 5,000 acres.

Even before Hurricane Katrina, the university's board of trustees decided to sell the beachfront property and move to a location that could accommodate more students, said Jerry Bracey, dean of the Gulf Coast campus. The storm destroyed the campus, and students are attending classes in trailers on the property.

The university has 50 acres at Tradition and initially will use 30 acres and save the remaining 20 for future expansion. The campus will be built in three phases.

The groundbreaking for Phase I of the construction will begin in March and will cover classroom buildings, an administration building and 550 parking spaces along Mississippi 67.

The two three-story buildings will be designed in a classical architectural style and will have 4,700 square feet of open-air porches.

The campus is scheduled to open in the fall of 2009 and will accommodate 750 students. The current Coast campus has more than 600 students, nearly a 10 percent increase over pre-Katrina numbers.

"I think this is going to be the Ivy League of the Coast," said Gerald Blessey, president of Tradition. "Education and economic development go hand in hand. Today, William Carey University takes a broad step in providing higher education opportunities to our youth."

http://media.sunherald.com/smedia/2007/11/13/22/589-1114williamcareyP1.slideshow_main.prod_affiliate.77.jpg

~photo from Sun Herald also

Muskavon
Nov 14, 2007, 7:48 PM
Here is an excel file I have on the Coast and development. I would love additional comments on things I need to add. Hopefully this works well.....

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2291/1970539285_70b569a3ea_b.jpg

Good Job Rebel. That's what I've been looking for...for this thread. Streamline it like the other city threads. Hopefully you guys will get some talls somewhere along the way soon.

Red UM Rebel
Nov 16, 2007, 3:48 AM
~WLOX
by Danielle Thomas

The road to improving traffic flow on Popp's Ferry Bridge will take a major step forward this week. This Friday engineers are scheduled to begin an environmental impact study, a requirement before any building plans can begin. The study will also look at traffic flow.

According to Biloxi city officials 20,000 cars use the Popp's Ferry Bridge each day and the drawbridge opens on average 10 times a day for marine traffic. City officials say that creates a safety hazard during a hurricane evacuation.

In 2004, Mayor A.J. Holloway secured $2 million from Congress to determine whether a new bridge or adding another span is the best way to keep traffic moving.

Mayor Holloway said, "Now we're getting ready to go forward with this project. Hopefully doing a new bridge on Popp's Ferry, or either a new span and maybe have to come back and heighten the other side of the bridge. Whichever way we do it, I hope we don't have to close traffic on Popp's Ferry for any length of time."

Holloway says because of the location of the channel the bridge wouldn't be very high.

"It cannot be much higher because we don't have the span to go across, but it can get up to where the coal barges will go underneath it without having to open the bridge."

Holloway says he expects it will take about 10 years to build a new bridge. But adding an additional span next to the current bridge probably wouldn't take as long. Either way, he says the cost will be about $50 million.

Red UM Rebel
Nov 19, 2007, 5:12 AM
Although I am disappointed it does not already have its own site, I have noticed that a construction cam is now up!

It will not be too long (three years) until it is finished

Velastor
Nov 19, 2007, 6:18 AM
Yeah the cam will be nice for keeping up with how construction is going....from the pictures it seems like they have a small crew doing the work atm. I wonder what the big pipes are that are sticking up in the pictures. My only guess would be drills for setting up some foundation.

Velastor
Nov 19, 2007, 6:27 AM
Nevermind about the small crew.....I just found that there are 2 cameras....it seems like most of the work atm is in front of the old Magic.

Red UM Rebel
Nov 19, 2007, 3:26 PM
I would bet it is the base of the new hotel. It will be fun seeing the project develop. What is striking is how huge the footprint is. It is going to be a huge development!

Velastor
Nov 19, 2007, 6:14 PM
I can't wait for the buildings to start taking shape.

I wonder what they are gonna do with the parking garage under the magic tower. Atm it doesnt look like they have any roads in the works to allow people to park under there.

Red UM Rebel
Nov 19, 2007, 9:01 PM
I am not sure, but I think the Magic never used that parking except for employee and valet. It would make sense if they started to use it though except it could be inconvenient to the normal flow of traffic.

BLX 101
Nov 19, 2007, 10:08 PM
Velastor, I would bet it is both. The bridge opening was national news because my uncle in Alaska called me about it. It really is a true signal that the Coast is once again open for business. I would also bet though there are several people that have been back to the Coast since Katrina and were just waiting on the bridge to open again to stay at Palace, Isle, etc. so they could have easy access to Ocean Springs.

I think BLX would have the best answer though. BLX your thoughts? (Do you think if they were to rebuild another Isle they would go after four/five diamond award?)

Sorry about the hiatus. I spent the previous weekend in Georgia for a wedding with minimal amount of sleep. Working grave shifts, I'm just starting to recoup.

Unfortunately, the bridge's opening didn't have the effect that the Isle was hoping for. Until the next reporting of revenues, we won't really know for sure but based on visual traffic on the casino floor, it hasn't had a great effect. Until it's remodeling and the completion of Margaritaville, the Isle's promotion department will have to be very creative in attracting both new and old guests. There was a national fishing tournament this past weekend that should have helped both the Isle and the Palace. The turn out was huge. As a result of Katrina, it's been three years since the tournament was last held here.

Red UM Rebel
Nov 20, 2007, 12:14 AM
That is a shame, I have a friend who's boyfriend is a chef at Minion, and he said their business has picked up ten fold. I can only hope good things for the Isle.

BLX 101
Nov 20, 2007, 1:07 AM
The condos that are most likely to begin construction next are listed below. They each have virtual tours on their web sites. Notice the subtle changes in the facade of the Revelay comparing the renderings on gcid.biz and revelay.com. The first tower of South Beach is now pouring concrete for the eighth of nine floors and Avalon has resumed site work on its conversion from Gulf Towers across from Beau Rivage.


http://avalonbiloxi.com/

http://www.revelay.com/

http://bacaranbay.com/

http://www.bienvillecondos.com

http://www.vuecrescente.com/

http://gcid.biz/

Red UM Rebel
Nov 20, 2007, 2:05 AM
Thanks for the update! I took the avalon off the first page because I could no longer access the website, it is great to hear that it is still going forward!!! I noticed that about Revelay too, they really scaled it back. Do you still think Vieux will become a casino?

Ocean Club Biloxi has also updated their web page
http://www.oceanclubatbiloxi.com/index.htm

BLX 101
Nov 20, 2007, 2:29 AM
The four pods that will contain the unusal and unique art work of George Ohr has been erected on the beach front campus-like setting designed by the unusual and unique international architecture Frank Gehry. When complete, millions will come from all over the world to experience this marvel.


Posted on Tue, Oct. 30, 2007
The Pods are coming! The Pods are coming!


-- The following piece appeared Oct. 25, on the House & Garden Web site blog, "The Itinerant Urbanist," by Karrie Jacobs, houseandgarden.com/trends/blogs/urbanist, with before and after pictures of an Ohr Pod on the Ohr-O'Keefe Museum site before Hurricane Katrina and an after Katrina picture of the museum site.
The photo above shows an Ohr Pod in pristine condition being installed on the site of the Ohr-O'Keefe Museum in Biloxi, Miss., a few days before Hurricane Katrina came along and washed away much of the Gulf Coast. As you may be able to tell from the peculiar geometry of the Pod, the museum was designed by Frank Gehry, and inspired by George Ohr, aka The Mad Potter of Biloxi.

Anyway, I was down in Biloxi in April, examining the ruins of the museum, and working on a story for the relaunch issue of American Craft Magazine about whether the Ohr-O'Keefe would indeed be rebuilt. Back in the spring, before the museum got its $15 million insurance settlement and worked out some things with FEMA, nothing was certain. But now, reconstruction is imminent. Replacement Pods are due to arrive from the fabricator, A. Zahner Sheet Metal Co. in Kansas City, any day now and a celebration marking the start of reconstruction is planned for Dec. 1.

BLX 101
Nov 20, 2007, 2:35 AM
Do you still think Vieux will become a casino?

Absolutely!!

Velastor
Nov 20, 2007, 6:03 AM
It looks as if Revelay increased the size of their waterpark like features in the front of the resort as they make the height and size of the building smaller. While it doesn't look as tall in the new rendering...it looks thicker on the sides, but that might have to do with it being slightly shorter looking.


I believe that if the Palace would go ahead and announce their expansion plans, it might provide even more motivation for the Isle to try and rush their new plans...Althought I don't want them to throw together a crappy big resort and hope that size will make them compete with everyone else. Isn't the Isle's gambling floor still split into two seperate parts...The one near the entrance by the lava bar and the other one upstairs past the buffet. I haven't been to the Isle since right after they opened up the new food court and lava bar area.

BnaBreaker
Nov 20, 2007, 6:09 AM
Thanks for this thread! It is so good to see this area finally being re-developed, and that is the most important point. I will say though that the design on most of these projects, both from an architectural standpoint and an urban design standpoint, are really really bad, in my opinion.

Like I said, that isn't what is important right now, but it's unfortunate that it appears to be developing back into another inefficient sprawled out beach resort.

Red UM Rebel
Nov 20, 2007, 2:25 PM
Thanks for this thread! It is so good to see this area finally being re-developed, and that is the most important point. I will say though that the design on most of these projects, both from an architectural standpoint and an urban design standpoint, are really really bad, in my opinion.

Like I said, that isn't what is important right now, but it's unfortunate that it appears to be developing back into another inefficient sprawled out beach resort.

There are some very nice architectural projects going in like the new Ohr-Okeefe museum which is a Frank Gerhy (sp) design. Also the new convention center is going to be nice. The limitation that most of these condos have is that they have to build very sturdy structures to even be allowed to build and not that you can not build something beautiful and it not be sturdy, but the cost of construction is just too high. I think though that several of the condos like South Beach, Vieux Crescente, and The Ocean Club have brought architectural styles to the coast that have not been their previously.

You should have seen what was down there before the storm :yuck: It really is a vast improvement

Red UM Rebel
Nov 21, 2007, 12:53 AM
LINK (http://www.wlox.com/global/story.asp?s=7385101)


Annexation, a new hotel and a gas station were all hot topics at Monday's Biloxi City Council Meeting. But some residents were surprised at how things turned out.

The meeting started with council going into a 45 minute executive session. After that, Biloxi residents got their chance to speak.

Several residents expressed their opposition about Biloxi's fight with the city of D'Iberville over expanding the city's northern boundaries by more than 12 miles.

"I think you bit off more than you can chew by annexing what you have," one resident said.

Council was set to re-visit the issue after councilman Mike Fitzpatrick proposed an ordinance which would reverse the council's August vote to proceed with annexation, but ultimately council pulled it off the agenda. Now the city will continue its land battle with the city of D'Iberville.

Rebuilding a gas station along Highway 90 was another hot topic at the meeting.

"Within reason, we can't have too many of them but one is not too many. If we want people to show up as far as tourists and establishment, or to reestablish that market in which we were founded on, we've got to show up first," said councilman Charles Harrison, Jr.

However, some council members fear that the look of traditional gas stations will not work with the city's plan of revitalization. So leaders with Clark Oil presented new plans for their beach front property.

"We've changed the canopy, we've changed the building not to look like the conventional gas station," said Barry Rose with Clark Oil.

With Clark's revised plan, the city gave the go-ahead for the oil company to move forward with rebuilding. Now it's up to the planning commission whether or not the city of Biloxi will move one step closer to putting gas back on the beach.

The council also passed a resolution for the application of a new Hilton Garden Inn. The seven story hotel would be located on Beach Boulevard near Rodenberg. Developers are still working with the council on traffic and drainage issues. If that plan is approved, contractors would begin building as early as February 2008.

by Elise Roberts

Red UM Rebel
Nov 21, 2007, 5:12 AM
There has actually been three different designs of Revelay put out there. I would bet the third is the most likely to be built.


First design:

http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1042/525295084_cdf0c687d8_o.jpg



Second design:

http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1177/897404035_a475b8afe3_o.jpg



Third design:

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2039/2051259971_32b92065f1_o.jpg

With the third (and hopefully final) design, they look like they have added some stories back, added some height and better design to those smaller portions out on the front, made the round areas that are on the main face back into square areas, and taken the triangle roof off the main face.

BLX 101
Nov 21, 2007, 6:32 PM
My preference is the first design but honestly, I'm just ready for it to be built.

BLX 101
Nov 21, 2007, 7:08 PM
The redevelopment of Edgewater Mall and Village on Biloxi beach is coming together. At Edgewater Village, along with Anchors such as Ashley Furniture and Books-A-Million will be H&R Block, Sprint, Kirkland's, Sally's Beauty Supply, Staple's, an unnamed shoe store and several restaurants. Of the restaurants, one will be an Itallian bistro and another, a Mexi-Cali grill & sports bar. Other stores will be announced soon. Several new stores in Edgewater Mall have opened, remodeled and moved to new locations. Dillard's is on the fast track with an opening set for March. Hopefully, the mall will be announcing new outparcel restaurants soon. It is high time for restaurants to return to the beach front. I think a good mix would be Red Lobster, Olive Garden and Ruby Tuesday's on the south end (beach front) of the mall and TGI Friday's and Chili's on the northern end next to JCPenny. There is also a vacant restaurant in the mall between JCPenny and the food court that would be an excellent location for an Outback Steakhouse. Existing restaurants in Edgewater mall are the popular Bonefish & Grill and Piccadilly. I was going to attach a photo but I have not mastered that just yet. With Simon properties 250,000sf Shops at Margaritaville, Biloxi will have a nice mix of retail. A New York developer is proposing 2,000,000sf of retail in a huge mix-use development just north of I-10 along the new Hwy 67 corridor that Biloxi and D'Iberville are battling over in court. The new four lane highway isn't scheduled to be completely opened for another year but already there are more than a half dozen new residential and mix-use developments going up along and near the corridor with Tradition being the most significant (over 4,000 acres) with three residential communities--two being golf communities. This is also where the new St. Patrick High School is and where the future William Carey University Gulf Coast campus will open fall 2009. It was also recently announced that Gulf Coast Medical Center near Edgewater Mall will close its doors on the first of January and will soon start construction at a new site north of I-10. Biloxi Regional Medical Center has already announced a partnership with Tradition to build a medical office park to be called Tradition Regional Medical Complex. I'm betting that the new hospital will be in the Tradition community. The developer of Edgewater Village is Peyton Cottrell who is also developing Bayou Bridges, a retail center in D'Iberville at the southeast intersection of I-10 and I-110. The founder of Tradition is Joseph Canizaro. They are both commercial real estate moguls from the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Cottrell, born in Gulfport, has his headquarters and made his fortune in Houston, Texas and Canizaro, born in Biloxi, made his fortune in New Orleans during the boom era, building huge commercial buildings. He has since moved back to Biloxi where he bought the massive property and for the last several years has been developing Tradition where he is building a new home.

http://www.loopnet.com/xNet/MainSite/Listing/Profile/ProfileSE.aspx?LID=14638282&linkcode=10850&sourcecode=1lww2t006a00001

http://racanellidevelopment.com/

http://traditionms.com/home.htm

http://woodmont.com/index.cfm?FuseAction=Page&PageID=1000000

http://www.gomdot.com/Home/news/projects/maps/67south2.pdf

http://www.gomdot.com/Home/news/projects/maps/67north.pdf

BLX 101
Nov 22, 2007, 12:55 AM
Coast Casinos Featured in article on Katrina Recovery Filed 11/21/07

A recent article in a nationally distributed amusement trades magazine by the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA) features what several Coast casinos have done to recover from hurricane Katrina. The article focuses on the Imperial Palace President and General Manager, Jon Lucas and highlights the IP's steps to recovery after Hurricane Katrina. To read the full article, click on the following link IAAPA Article.



http://www.iaapa.org/industry/funworld/2007/oct/features/CounteringKatrina/CounteringKatrina.asp

Red UM Rebel
Nov 22, 2007, 4:34 AM
Thanks for the story BLX, I really enjoyed it. I clicked on a link within the story and got another story about casinos which might be of some interest:

Tumbling Dice (http://www.iaapa.org/industry/funworld/2007/oct/features/CounteringKatrina/tumblingdice.asp)

Some points of interest:

In one of the stories it says the IP's master plan for the next couple of years is to add another hotel tower with 500-700 rooms. Although I am disappointed because that means the second tower will be smaller than the first, I would not be surprised if they started releasing designs for that building within the next couple of months to six months. I would bet they are waiting till Bacaran breaks ground so they can take some steam out of that engine. They also said they plan on adding some retail area, onshore gaming, and another huge entertainment venue. I have to hand it to Jon Lucas at the IP, that is the most incredible turn-around of a casino ever. I remember the days before Katrina when I would go in there for movies and thought it was one of the most shabby places. A friend and I were stunned by what we saw when we went in there recently. I can only hope that others on the Coast step up their game like the IP :tup:
At the end of Tumbling Dice (written about the Hard Rock finally opening) they talked about the Palace Casino Expansion. That is the first place that I have seen where the Palace has clearly leaked their plans for what they would like to build. It says about a 650 room second hotel tower. I am very interested to see where they put this on their land. If they put it adjoining there original tower, than I believ same room to bee that it will be a twenty to thirty story tower. For perspective on what 650 rooms is the size of: the hotel would have a few less rooms than the Isle, but could not be nearly as long as the Isle due to land restrictions. (how many floors is the Isle btw)
I hope we will also see permanent design plans for the two D'Iberville casinos and the Bayview Resort soon. They have been talked about now for upwards of two to three years, so normally when they are talked about that long they will sooner or later proliferate into a real casino. I just hope it is sooner!


__________________________________________________________________________________________________________

I found an article from 2003 talking about how the latest casino to open was in 1999 (Beau Rivage) and how six new projects were on the table then. The author of the article said she doubted most of any of the projects were to develop. I will post link, but I will pull out the part I am talking about:

Article (http://www.allbusiness.com/north-america/united-states-mississippi/883812-1.html)

Quote:
"If all the projects that have been announced went forward at the same time, the skyline would once again be dotted with
numerous construction cranes. But that is a big "if."

The project considered most likely to go forward in the near future is the Hard Rock Casino and Hotel in Biloxi just cast of Beau Rivage in Biloxi. The $225million project would, include 50,000 square feet of gambling space, a 306-room hotel, four restaurants, a parking garage, a pool and a Hard Rock Live nightclub for national and local performers. The project is being developed by partners Greg Giuffria, a former rock star who is a native of Pascagoula now living in Las Vegas, Florida developer David Ross and Roy Anderson III with Roy Anderson Construction.

Other casino projects proposed on the Coast include the Rock-N-Roll casino on Back Bay Biloxi, the Royal D'Iberville Casino in D'Iberville just west of the I110 bridge, a casino on Caillevet St. in Biloxi proposed by Sen. Tommy Gollott and other investors, a project next to Diamondhead in Hancock County, and a casino at the site of the former Bayou Caddy in Waveland. The Coast currently has 12 casinos.

While there may be some room for growth, no one believes all six casino projects will be built."


Well Ms. Becky Gillette,


Hard Rock has opened (finally)
Rock-N-Roll Casino is the Bayview Casino Resort Group and it still is in the works. I have begged Dale-Morris to give me renderings but they are undergoing changes at the moment and cannot release them. Undergoing changes is pretty positive I would say.
Royal D'Iberville will have all permits and approvals by the end of the year and will be a go
Bacaran Bay on Caillevet is a go, and I am waiting anxiously for the ground breaking
Diamondhead is still in works, much like Broadwater, it will be a long time, but something will get built there.
Bayou Caddy is the Silver Slipper Casino
Oh yea, the Vieux and Margaritaville did not seem to make your list, thats a shame

Red UM Rebel
Nov 22, 2007, 6:16 AM
(other places coming)

The Map is from www.mapquest.com, and I used Paint to add in the other info. It is the location of the current and proposed casinos in East Biloxi

http://lh4.google.com/RedUMRebel/R0UdAyULzVI/AAAAAAAAAr0/uJxG79ThfoQ/s800/Casino%20Current-Proposed%20EBiloxi.bmp

BLX 101
Nov 22, 2007, 4:49 PM
To my knowledge, the Palace still has yet to reveal specific plans for their expansion. I read the article also and I'm convinced that they have it wrong. Those descriptions are of the Bacaran Bay Casino that precedes it. Compare the description to Bacaran's website.


PROPOSED

Bacaran Bay Casino Resort —A $500 million project owned and operated by Torguson Gaming Group, this [Palace Casino Resort] 638-room all-suite facility is scheduled to open fall 2008. It will also include 432 one- and two-bedroom condominiums, an Arnold Palmer-designed golf course, a 40-lane bowling alley, and a six-screen movie theater.


http://bacaranbay.com/

BLX 101
Nov 22, 2007, 5:13 PM
Thanks for the story BLX, (how many floors is the Isle btw)


The Isle has fourteen floors which includes two Lower Floors (Atrium Casino, Human Resources, Employee areas; Hotel Lobby/Main Casino Floor) and Floor One (Spa, Fitness and Pool Deck) thru Floor Twelve (Rooms and Suites).

Red UM Rebel
Nov 26, 2007, 2:16 PM
LINK (http://www.sunherald.com/201/story/205237.html)

One of the first pictures I saw of the destruction caused by Hurricane Katrina was taken at Edgewater Village in Biloxi.

It caught my eye because I saw the wreckage that was the Village Sports Pub, my favorite hangout before the storm.

There were people that I met there who are still good friends today. I watched the Red Sox win their first World Series since 1918 there. I watched a couple of Stanley Cups and some Super Bowls there.

Word from the owners right after the storm was that they were going to be back.

"This just didn't work out there," said Larry McGwire, one of the original owners.

Well, it's not at Edgewater Village and it's not an exact replica, but as of two weeks ago, the Village Sports Pub returned as part of the Island Strikz Entertainment Complex on Pass Road just west of DeBuys Road.

Larry McGwire, and John Bell, along with their two partners in the Island Strikz, made the decision to rename the sports bar at the complex the Village Sports Pub.

"Naturally, we'd love to trade off the old name a little and bring that type of atmosphere here," McGwire said. "But we also want people to know there is somewhere to go and have some fun."

And for those who are old-time Sports Pubbers, there even is one of the original tables with the old logo on it known as the "manager's table."

"It's the only original table left," McGwire said with a smile. "It was out being repaired (when the storm hit.) That's why it survived."

There are a couple of pool tables and some dart boards set up, along with Packers, Steelers and Saints paraphernalia on the walls below the flat-screen TVs.

"We have one dart league this year and hope to have two next season," McGwire said. "This is the same, friendly atmosphere."

McGwire said in addition to the Sports Pub sign and the darts and pool, some menu changes are being made to add some Sports Pub favorites.

McGwire said T-shirts and collared shirts for the Pub will be back and he hopes some of the old patrons will return as well.

"We had a lot of years to build up a good reputation. We want to try to do something with it."


:cheers:

Red UM Rebel
Nov 28, 2007, 1:27 AM
BLX or anyone else down there...

What is the status of the Bacaran Bay. They still not have "official" broke ground, but I know construction work was going on at the site. Do you have any idea?

Red UM Rebel
Nov 28, 2007, 2:19 AM
Motion reflects voter opposition
By KAREN NELSON
klnelson@sunherald.com

LINK (http://www.sunherald.com/201/story/208871.html)

PASCAGOULA --The Jackson County Board of Supervisors, after a quick spat, voted 3-1 to take a stand against a casino proposed for the county by the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians.

More than 60 percent of voters in the general election earlier this month came out against the casino. The referendum was taken to gauge voter opinion on the issue, but is not legally binding.

So supervisors Monday took a stand that reflects the vote.

Supervisor John McKay simply made a motion stating that the Jackson County Board of Supervisors is opposed to the casino. He said it was needed to "reaffirm the vote of the people" in case the issue ever goes before the governor. He said the county needs to show that the local government as well as the people oppose it.

BLX 101
Nov 29, 2007, 1:06 AM
BLX or anyone else down there...

What is the status of the Bacaran Bay. They still not have "official" broke ground, but I know construction work was going on at the site. Do you have any idea?


No news since my previous post regarding Bacaran Bay Casino on page six. The work that was going on previously, was pre-construction work to address drainage, relocating a lift station and the removal of old debris from the site. They have a pre-construction site work video posted on their web page. I suspect that actual construction will begin no later than the first quarter of 2008. This project will definitely go forward.


http://bacaranbay.com/

BLX 101
Nov 29, 2007, 1:40 AM
Posted on Wed, Nov. 28, 2007
Target has eye on D'Iberville; maybe Olive Garden, too
By MARY PEREZ
meperez@sunherald.com


D’IBERVILLE -- Target has drawn its big red bull’s-eye on D’Iberville, and Olive Garden could also be among the dozens of national restaurants and retailers opening in the city in 2009.
The word the Coast has been waiting years to hear —plans for a Target — were announced at Tuesday night’s D’Iberville Planning Commission meeting. Developers asked for a sign variance and zero lot-line setbacks at D’Iberville Market Place shopping center near the intersection of interstates 10 and 110.

The board unanimously gave its approval for both variances; the requests will go before the City Council on Dec. 18.

For years, rumors have circulated about a Target in Gulfport, and Mayor Brent Warr said Tuesday night the city is talking to the company, but nothing has been confirmed yet.

“We have communicated with the individuals who represent (Target), and we would be happy to have them in Gulfport,” Warr said.

Todd Blowers, vice president of Forum Development Group of Atlanta, asked for the sign variance in D’Iberville and said Target has requested two signs with its trademark red bull’s-eye.

“We have not closed with Target,” Todd Bond, director of planning and retail development with Colonial Properties Trust in Atlanta, said outside the meeting. The developers also still have to close on some of the property off Sangani Blvd.

Bond said they plan to build an approximately 700,000-square-foot shopping center, with nine anchors, three major tenants and 12 other businesses on the perimeter of the shopping center. About 50,000 square feet will be shops, and 10 restaurants are planned.

Asked if Olive Garden was one of the restaurants, Bond said, “We’re hoping. We like them.”

“It’s going to be a great project,” said Blowers. “We’re hoping to start the first quarter of 2008.”

Bond said the shopping center could open in two phases, with the first section ready in March 2009 and the second phase complete in July that same year.

“We’re going fast,” said Bond. “We have leases signed,” but he couldn’t reveal which shops and restaurants are coming at this point because they are national, public companies. He did say “all major categories will be represented.”

The developers are forming a public/private partnership with the city of D’Iberville to build the infrastructure for the shopping center, which will include a four-lane boulevard with turning lanes and connections with Mississippi 67 and Interstate 110.


http://www.wlox.com/Global/story.asp?S=7422233


One of the developers is the Forum Group out of Atlanta which was previously slated to develop the retail portion of the initial Broadwater project that once included the 38-story Portofino condominiums south of the marina.


http://www.forumdevgroup.com/homepage.html


http://colonialprop.com/


Hopefully other stores such as Macy's, Kohls, Burlington Coat Factory, and Marshalls will be coming to this area. With the planned reopening of Dillard's, Edgewater Village and the Shops at Margaritaville, the Biloxi/Gulport retail scene looks promising. Especially along the new Hwy 67 corridor in North Biloxi.

BLX 101
Nov 29, 2007, 2:00 AM
Beau View to start second of four planned towers. Penthouses already reserved.





Posted on Wed, Nov. 28, 2007
Biloxi council OKs restaurant, two condos
By MARY PEREZ
meperez@sunherald.com


BILOXI -- The American Casserole Restaurant and two condo projects won the unanimous approval of Biloxi City Council on Tuesday.
With three council members absent because of illness, the board moved quickly through the agenda and praised developers for working with the city to get their projects passed.

Desporte and Sons Inc. will build the American Casserole Restaurant at 1067 Division Street, the former site of Hugo's Restaurant.

Briarfield Beach Cottages Condominiums at 157 Briarfield Ave. cleared the council after owners Michael and Deborah Lerner eliminated one unit and the proposed stacked parking, and removed all variances. The council had sent the original plans back to the Planning Commission after the first review, objecting to too many units and variances on an acre of land.

Councilman George Lawrence said the council is trying to see that projects have the least impact on the city and said the Briarfield developers did the right thing by redesigning the project.

The council rezoned nearly 11 acres on Beach Boulevard from B-2 community business to B-3 hospitality business for Beau View Towers, which corresponds with neighboring properties and approved a conditional use to allow owners to rent their units.

Kevin Bzoch, acquisition and development manager for Florida-based Davis Companies, the developer of Beau View, said about a third of the owners would like to rent their condos on a short-term basis; the others will live there full time.

"People are looking for more permanent residential homes," he said, without the maintenance and responsibility that comes with single-family-home ownership. The units range from a 1,400-square-foot two-bedroom, two-bath condo to a 3,700-square-foot unit. Both penthouses in the first tower are sold and Bzoch said they already are reserved in the second tower, which he expects to be under construction next year.

A myth in the marketplace is waterfront properties can't be insured, said Bzoch. "We had over 40 insurance companies bidding on our insurance." Developers can get insurance, he said. "You have to design for it."

Red UM Rebel
Nov 30, 2007, 5:40 PM
Mad Potter survived fire, museum outlived storm
By KAT BERGERON
kbergeron@sunherald.com

Fire and storm swirl in an unlikely tale of the rebirth of a 19th-century Biloxi art potter and his 21st-century museum. This rare international story captures the imagination of all who treasure art and architecture - or survival.

When George E. Ohr lost his life's work and his pottery complex in an 1894 blaze that destroyed much of downtown Biloxi, he was undefeated. The clay wizard peddled $1 tickets, redeemable for wares once the self-styled Mud Dauber was back in business.

Ohr raised $800, or $17,300 in today's dollars, to build a pottery complex that turned Mississippi clays into both utilitarian and magical shapes that awe the modern art world. Before clearing the fire debris, he salvaged hundreds of scorched clay pots, set them on shelves that rimmed his fence and affectionately called them his "burned babies."

Ohr's phoenix-like rebirth inspires the rejuvenation of a museum dedicated to him. It was designed by a 21st-century architectural wizard whose work is as sensual and zany as Ohr's ceramics. Frank Gehry's head-turning design was beginning to take shape on the Biloxi beachfront when Hurricane Katrina struck in August 2005.

The future of the ravaged Ohr-O'Keefe Museum of Art was uncertain. The scarred, leafless ancient oaks, integral to Gehry's "Dance with the Trees" design, were pitiful. Although Gehry's innovative techniques allowed for hurricanes, the structures were not far enough along in construction to withstand Katrina's fury.

Two nearly completed "pods" of the four that would comprise the George E. Ohr Gallery opened like flower petals. The Center for Ceramics stood, but needs repairs and completion. The Gallery of African-American Art was hit by a barge; the Pleasant Reed House, built by a freed slave and moved to the museum's campus as part of the its more encompassing cultural mission, simply disappeared.

Like Ohr in 1894, the museum staff, trustees and supporters, indeed the art world itself, stood on a precipice. Rebuild? Walk away? The costs to reconstruct and finish would be astronomical and money was uncertain in the wake of Katrina.

Like Ohr in 1894, no one threw in the proverbial towel. First announced plans were to build back with just a part of Gehry's original design. Now, with a $15 million insurance payment and other help from government and private grants and a small but continuous flow of donations, rebuilding plans have expanded and work is again under way.

"Since the storm, the museum has used the theme 'Ohr Rising' because we are inspired by Ohr's not only coming back after the fire but creating the best work of his life," said Marjie Gowdy, the museum's director.

When finished, the pods will be encased in angelhair-brushed stainless steel and topped with a glass atrium that will make the pods and tree limbs seem to dance as one. Saturday's pod party is the museum's message that it has accepted a vital role in the rebirth and economic redevelopment of the Katrina-ravaged Mississippi Coast. The grand opening for at least three of the main buildings, including the Ohr Gallery, may come as early as December 2009. Construction contracts will be awarded in January.

"I believe the mission of the museum has changed since Katrina," said Larry Clark, trustee president and co-owner of Butch Oustalet Autoplex in Gulfport. "We now have greater responsibility to promote historical and cultural preservation than before the storm. We have the opportunity to develop a quality of life that will make people want to live here."

When Ohr rebuilt his pottery in 1894, the region was in the midst of an economic boom from the rising seafood industry. Now, the expected boom emanates from resort casinos and repackaging of coastal amenities that have long made this a desirable place to live and visit.

The Gehry-designed museum is expected to give art an even bigger post-Katrina role.

"We feel another part of our mission is economic development," Clark said. "The museum can bring a caliber of tourists to the Coast that will be attracted no other way."

When George Ohr rebuilt after the fire, he constructed an unusual pagoda tower that brought the curious and was featured in post cards.

There are other analogies to the 1894 fire. The museum is peddling fundraising clay bricks that could be Ohr's long-ago tickets, and as for the burned babies, those could easily be the survivor oaks so integral to the Gehry design.

Amazingly, only one oak was lost to the storm. Remaining trees have been trimmed of hurt limbs, fertilized and their soil aerated. They still hurt, but those who understand trees see the new-growth leaves as miraculous.

"The oaks make the Frank Gehry experience here unlike anywhere else - Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Bilbao, Spain," said Clark.

Because of Gehry's first impressions in 2000, the Ohr oaks will forever be in a protected dance that includes an upside-down water-fertilizing system under the terrace and buildings.

"Because of the trees, we were given the 3-inch rule by Gehry," said Joey Crain, of Guild Hardy Architects, the Mississippi firm hired by Gehry. "We could move a surface up to three inches, but if we move it more, we have to get permission."

As local project architect ,Crain must see that all structural skeletons, mechanical systems such as air conditioning, and piers for the buildings and terrace co-exist in tight spaces without compromising Gehry's aesthetics. Modern technology made that possible.

"Arborists exposed every root, which gave us GPS points," Crain said. "We reconstructed the root network on a computer and then we knew where we couldn't put our 600 piles."

Once the trees and major limbs were mapped and a scale model constructed, Gehry took snub-nosed pliers, tape and poster board and designed the buildings among the model trees.

Computer fabrications and other scale models led to Gehry's final design. Groundbreaking came in 2003, and Gehry's intriguing shapes began appearing.

Twenty-seven months after Katrina, 10 trucks arrived with giant pod sections - some replacements, others made before the storm but never installed. Now the dance begins again, and soon nine more oaks will be planted as future dance partners, as Gehry had planned even before the storm losses.

"George Ohr had so many tragedies in his life, from the loss of children to the 1894 fire. But in his writings, Ohr told us, 'Some day, they will build a temple in my honor.' This Frank Gehry museum is the temple."

- Brian Nettles, Pass Christian and Ohr-O'Keefe Museums of Art potter

"The trees will be bigger and better dance partners than before the storm."

--Larry Clark, president, Ohr-O'Keefe Museum of Art trustee board president

If you go

What: A free public rebuilding celebration, The Dance Begins, on the construction site of the new Ohr-O'Keefe Museum of Art.

Time: 10 a.m. until noon Saturday.

The event: Local foods (Slavonian pusharatas and pastries from the Vietnamese-American La Bakery); music, including the Gulf Coast Symphony Youth Orchestra and the National Anthem by Keesler 81st Training Wing; tours of the Ohr pods under construction; pottery demonstrations; special guests such as Brian Zamora of Gehry Partners, Harold Closter of Smithsonian Affiliations, Dance Begins chair Judy Steckler and U.S. Rep. Gene Taylor.

Where: 386 East Beach Blvd., Biloxi, about a mile east of the newly open Biloxi Bay Bridge. (Park at old Lady Luck and Biloxi Yacht Club parking lots, both on U.S. 90; drop-off for the handicapped is from Howard Avenue by turning south on either Kuhn or Sophie streets, to Meaut Street. Wheelchair access at the two open gates on the north side of the museum campus.)

Event lagniappe: Video for YouTube produced by Anne Kotleba, an original Katrina volunteer at the museum, who produced this in honor of the rebuilding ceremony, youtube.com


LINK (http://www.sunherald.com/278/story/217649-p3.html)


Images from Sun Herald:

http://media.sunherald.com/smedia/2007/11/29/06/458-1130ohrpodpeekp4.slideshow_main.prod_affiliate.77.jpg



http://media.sunherald.com/smedia/2007/11/29/06/458-1130ohrpodpeekp16.slideshow_main.prod_affiliate.77.jpg


http://media.sunherald.com/smedia/2007/11/29/06/229-1130ohrpodpeekp9.slideshow_main.prod_affiliate.77.jpg

Red UM Rebel
Dec 3, 2007, 5:39 PM
By MARY PEREZ
meperez@sunherald.com

LINK (http://www.sunherald.com/278/story/221512.html)

He went to Orlando with the idea of luring a major amusement park to the Coast. But Larry Barnett came home with another idea.

The executive director of the Harrison County Development Commission, after talking to experts in the amusement field, said he realized the Coast may not have the population or visitors for a Six Flags-type amusement park.

Still he is encouraged. "I came away with the sense that we can establish some type of larger attraction. How large? I'm not sure about that yet." Local planners really need to stand back and look at what they want on the Coast, he said, and what fits this market.

Barnett and Marsha Crawford from the HCDC were among the 27,000 professionals at the Nov. 12-16 International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions Expo 2007 in Orlando. They went to learn all they could about the attractions business.

Since Hurricane Katrina washed away Fun Time USA on the beach in Gulfport and Biloxi Beach Amusement Park and Slippery Sam's in Biloxi, the market is wide open. Golden Nugget Casino had proposed building an amusement park on Point Cadet in Biloxi, but sold the property to the Isle of Capri.

Dennis Speigel, president of International Theme Park Services Inc. in Cincinnati, Ohio, said one thing he's learned in his 45 years in the industry and overseeing more than 450 projects is the adage " 'If you build it they will come' does not apply anymore."

The developers of Jazzland in New Orleans learned that, when they disregarded the market studies that said visitors go to New Orleans to party and eat, not for roller coasters. "They didn't want to believe it," Speigel said, and Hurricane Katrina was the final blow that closed the park.

Speigel said the first step in deciding what attractions should be built and where is the feasibility study. "It's really the road map for the project. We tell clients it's the most important step."

That's where a company like Jack Rouse & Associates of Cincinnati would step in. The firm designs theme parks as opposed to amusement parks and retrofits or creates rides to tell a story, said Shawn McCoy, VP Marketing and Business Development.

"Let the economic-feasibility study tell you what the idea is," he said. "We always try to find something that's unique to the geography." On the Coast that could be a tie-in to NASA's Infinity Visitor Center planned for Hancock County, the seafood industry or even the casinos. "That's critical mass," he said, that will make the Coast a destination. "That's key."

Barnett said the Coast casinos draw lots of tourists and the convention market draws business travelers. "The people that come to attractions may even be a different crowd," and he said understanding the attractions market is the same as working to bring restaurants, manufacturing and retail to the Coast.

Amusement parks generate $11.5 billion each year and are expected to reach $14 billion by 2011. Speigel said there really isn't a trend in amusement parks in the country because the only parks being built now are international.

Instead, resorts and casinos are incorporating attractions into their lodging, and in the northern states indoor waterparks within a resort are very popular.

McCoy said think beyond the norm. "Branson (Missouri) is a destination and it's not a theme park."

"It is a symphony of attractions," such as miniature golf courses and museums, that will create the critical mass that will help make the Coast a Tier 1 destination, said Sun Herald Publisher Ricky Mathews, who co-chairs the tourism committee of the Gulf Coast Business Council.

"We tend to forget that some of our most significant assets are right in front of our eyes," including the beach, the golf, fishing and even Beach Boulevard, he said.

Speigel recommends the Coast introduce attractions in phases. "Start properly and then build on demand. Study your market conditions very carefully and undertake a feasibility study. Based on what the study tells," he said, "don't exceed the parameters."



--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Top 10 amusement parks outside Orlando

These are based on popularity among the Web site TripAdvisor.com's users and editors.

Hersheypark: Hershey, Pa. Amusement park and adjacent Hershey's Chocolate World.

Busch Gardens: Tampa, Fla. African-themed rides and zoo with 2,700 animals.

Cedar Point Amusement Park: Sandusky, Ohio. Known as the "roller coaster capital of the world."

Six Flags Fiesta Texas: San Antonio. Known for its shows and extreme rides.

Family Kingdom Amusement Park: Myrtle Beach, S.C. Oceanfront amusement park/waterpark.

Six Flags Great Adventure: Jackson, N.J. Known for thrill rides, tiger exhibit and kiddie attractions.

Paramount's Kings Island: Kings Island, Ohio. Home to The Beast, the world's longest wooden roller coaster.

Ober Gatlinburg Ski Resort and Amusement Park: Gatlinburg, Tenn. Indoor skating, alpine slide, fun house and a black bear habitat.

Coney Island, Brooklyn: N.Y. This park recently closed.

Paramount's Carowinds: Charlotte, N.C. Roller coasters, a wave pool and a three-story water jungle gym.

- TRIPADVISOR.COM

DruidCity
Dec 4, 2007, 3:09 PM
Guys, keep up the good work on this thread !

I was in Biloxi 2 days ago, and the casinos were really hopping. The Hard Rock appeared to be bringing in plenty of its target demographic.

The interesting thing to me is that the condo projects along the Mississippi coast appear to be moving forward, whereas the coastal condo market is practically dead in AL-FL.

Red UM Rebel
Dec 4, 2007, 4:59 PM
Druid,

The coastal condo market is being propped up by GoZone, Insurance Money, and commitments to these projects in 2004/2005 that were held up because of Katrina. The coast has yet to be effected greatly by the credit mess going on.

BLX 101
Dec 4, 2007, 9:32 PM
This Thursday, the developers of Bayview Casino Resort will ask the planning commission to rezone additional property to expand their footprint.


BILOXI PLANNING COMMISSION REGULAR MEETING

Community Development Auditorium

676 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard

December 6, 2007

2:00 p.m.


Case No. 07-120 – Bayview Avenue Development Group, L.L.C.; Biloxi Gaming Partners I, L.L.C.; and S & J, L.L.C. (owners) and Bayview Gaming Group, L.L.C. (applicant) – The purpose of the hearing is to consider a request for Zoning Map Amendment, to authorize a change in zoning for twelve (12) separate, but contiguous parcels of land bisected by a public right-of-way (i.e., Dacey Street), four and seventy-one one-hundredths (4.71) acres in overall size, from B-4 General Commercial and RS-5 Single-Family Residential – High Density to WF Waterfront, which change in zoning would allow said properties to accommodate potential, but unspecified, hospitality and/or gaming development uses, for properties identified as 645 and 655 Bayview Avenue, 443, 449, and 453 Braun Street; 445, 448, 451, 455, 457, and 463 Dacey Street, and one (1) unnumbered lot fronting upon Bayview Avenue (i.e., Municipal Tax Parcel Nos. 1410C-02-001.000, 1410C-02-007.000, 1410C-02-008.000, 1410C-02-009.000, 1410C-02-028.000, 1410C-02-029.000, 1410C-02-030.000, 1410C-02-031.000, 1410C-02-032.000, 1410C-02-032.001, 1410C-02-033.000, and 1410C-02-034.000 ).

Red UM Rebel
Dec 4, 2007, 10:31 PM
wow, sixteen acres is pretty big. Build it bigger!

Velastor
Dec 5, 2007, 1:50 AM
From tracking the construction camera, Harrah's seems to be moving along smoothly with construction. You can see buildings taking shape now. :)

Do any of the other construction sides, condos or other casinos, have construction cameras up on any of their sites that anyone knows about?

BLX any whispers yet from the Isle about their plans? I read today that the company noticed a decrease in overall revenue this quarter, and I hope that doesn't affect their plans.

On the Bayview Casino note, I really wish they would get a website and show off some renderings or provide more information on what they have planned.

BLX 101
Dec 5, 2007, 2:58 AM
Posted on Tue, Dec. 04, 2007
D'Iberville hotel OK'd, but casino is tabled again
By MARY PEREZ
meperez@sunherald.com


D'IBERVILLE -- The Royal D'Iberville Casino isn't quite ready for Planning Commission review, but a Courtyard by Marriott has been approved.
Mark Seymour, developer of the Royal D'Iberville Casino, asked the commission to table his application for the fourth time. An application for a senior housing project was pulled off the agenda until next month, board chairman Paul Klobe said at last week's meeting.

The board did approve a conditional use for a five-story, 125-room Courtyard by Marriott on Cinema Drive, just east of the Grand Theater. The approval included permission to sell liquor at the limited-service hotel. Applicant Dwayne Rash said there is room in the area for a stand-alone restaurant so hotel guests will have a combination of restaurants, retail and theater in the vicinity.

Rash asked for a parking variance and said, "We do have enough parking spaces." The 157 spaces is 17 more than a one-to-one ratio, and he said both Hilton and Marriott corporations require only one parking space per room. The city previously gave a variance for Wingate Hotel and Rash said, "In 10 years of operation, we've had very little if any complaints."

The board also approved the application of Trung Minh Tran to build a Vietnamese Baptist Church on Third Avenue in an R-3 district.

A rear neighbor said it would be better to use the land for retail than to allow a church. He previously lived in East Biloxi and said he was concerned his shop would be burglarized, and asked the board to require an eight-foot fence be built to "keep the rest of the neighborhood shielded from that."

This is a Baptist church, Klobe reminded him, and commission member Donna Williams said, "We can't be judgmental by someone coming to D'Iberville."

The commission did require the church to complete the six-foot privacy fence at the back of the property. "I think it will protect you from the neighbors," said Klobe.

The commission tabled an application by Harris and Heinrich LLC for a 12-unit townhouse development at the corner of Leckich and Corries streets in a C-2 district because of poor drainage in the area. A conditional use for a 35-space FEMA trailer park off Lamey Bridge Road was denied because applicant William Meyer didn't bring a letter from FEMA stating there was a need for the park.

The D'Iberville City Council will consider these and the applications for D'Iberville Market Place Shopping Center and sign variances for a Target store Dec. 18.

BLX 101
Dec 5, 2007, 3:04 AM
From tracking the construction camera, Harrah's seems to be moving along smoothly with construction. You can see buildings taking shape now. :)

Do any of the other construction sides, condos or other casinos, have construction cameras up on any of their sites that anyone knows about?

BLX any whispers yet from the Isle about their plans? I read today that the company noticed a decrease in overall revenue this quarter, and I hope that doesn't affect their plans.

On the Bayview Casino note, I really wish they would get a website and show off some renderings or provide more information on what they have planned.

The pace does appear to be picking up at the Margaritaville site. Unfortunately, there hasn't been any update on the Isle's plans.

Red UM Rebel
Dec 5, 2007, 4:51 AM
Velastor, there is a construction cam there because it is a Yates project. He always likes to put cams at his projects. I am sure when/if the Revelay breaks ground a cam will go up there. RAC has not done that.

It is surprising that Royal was tabled again. I wonder if he is just making rumblings about that every couple of years to keep the property value high. Bayview plans will hopefully be out soon, but they would not release them to me because they were doing redone (obviously to add more size).

I cannot wait for the Isle to release some idea of what they are going to do, and I cannot wait for the Bacaran to OFFICIALLY break ground! I will be down there this weekend, and I hope to get a lot of pictures

Velastor
Dec 5, 2007, 7:06 AM
Have fun on your trip Rebel!


Royal could be doing the same thing that the Isle and Bayview are doing...relooking at their plans and making sure that they have everything added that they want listed before they get permission to start. This prevents extra legal fees and such for having to get it approved and then reapproved if you change anything with in your plans. Say he wants a 250 room hotel this week and it gets approved, but sees that Bayview is building say a 500 room hotel, he could want to compete more and decides he now wants a 500 room hotel. He would then be required to rego before the planning commision again. Sorry for the block of text. :)

I am hoping thats why he keeps pulling the tabel.

BLX 101
Dec 7, 2007, 5:34 AM
Posted on Fri, Dec. 07, 2007
Bayview Casino moves on Casino request approved
By MARY PEREZ
meperez@sunherald.com


BILOXI -- Bayview Casino is on its way to the Biloxi City Council and then the Mississippi Gaming Commission for approvals to let construction begin on the Back Bay casino.
The developers asked Thursday to have 4.71 acres south of Bayview Avenue in Biloxi zoned waterfront, which would allow a casino on the site. "We were pleased that we passed the Planning Commission on a unanimous vote," said John Ed Ainsworth, one of the casino developers. "We were very pleased there was no opposition to it."

No one at the meeting spoke against rezoning the land from B-4 General Commercial and RS-5 Single-Family Residential High Density to WF Waterfront.

Now the developers, Bayview Ave. Development Group, Biloxi Gaming Partners and Bayview Gaming Group, hope the Biloxi City Council will quickly vote to rezone the property. "We're going to ask to be put on the agenda for the January Gaming Commission meeting," said Ainsworth. The meeting is January 17.

While the project is moving forward, "Our funding is contingent on us having proper zoning and Gaming Commission approval," Ainsworth said. The casino will be built south of Bayview Avenue along with a 600-room hotel and several restaurants. "That will all come out in the master plan," when the plans go to the Gaming Commission, said Ainsworth.

The 2.42 acres on the north side of Bayview Avenue on the Back Bay was zoned WF before Hurricane Katrina, said Bayview attorney Michael Cavanaugh. Ainsworth said the waterfront won't be developed initially but once the casino and amenities are built on the north side of the property, condos or more hotel rooms may be built along the water.

Commissioner David Stanovich asked what will happen to Dacey Street when the casino is built. Cavanaugh said the developers might request that the street be vacated or rerouted around the resort.

The new FEMA flood elevations maps make the ability to build homes in that area "problematic at best," said Cavanaugh. The best way to build in that area is with concrete and steel, he added, which is how casinos are constructed.



--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

In other action
On Tuesday the Biloxi Planning Commission also approved:
• Rezoning 14 parcels of land on Oak, Seventh and Eighth streets from RS-5 to B-2 Community Business for a mixed-use retail center to include a beauty shop and jewelry store with an apartment on the upper level.

• Rezoning land at Arbor Place gated community off Popp's Ferry Road to allow 88 additional multi-family residences.

• Variances for a 28,500 square-foot office building at the Biloxi Industrial Park. The 19 protected trees on the property damaged by Katrina will be cut and replaced with about 20 new large trees and a courtyard.

Red UM Rebel
Dec 11, 2007, 4:57 AM
LINK (http://www.clarionledger.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20071209/NEWS/71209020/-1/frontpage)

BILOXI, Miss. � Fire and storm swirl in an unlikely tale of the rebirth of a 19th-century Biloxi art potter and his 21st-century museum.

This rare international story captures the imagination of all who treasure art and architecture � or survival.

When George E. Ohr lost his life�s work and his pottery complex in an 1894 blaze that destroyed much of downtown Biloxi, he was undefeated. The clay wizard peddled $1 tickets, redeemable for wares once the self-styled Mud Dauber was back in business.

Ohr raised $800, or $17,300 in today�s dollars, to build a pottery complex that turned Mississippi clays into both utilitarian and magical shapes that awe the modern art world. Before clearing the fire debris, he salvaged hundreds of scorched clay pots, set them on shelves that rimmed his fence and affectionately called them his �burned babies.�

Ohr�s phoenix-like rebirth inspires the rejuvenation of a museum dedicated to him. It was designed by a 21st-century architectural wizard whose work is as sensual and zany as Ohr�s ceramics. Frank Gehry�s head-turning design was beginning to take shape on the Biloxi beachfront when Hurricane Katrina struck in August 2005.

The future of the ravaged Ohr-O�Keefe Museum of Art was uncertain. The scarred, leafless ancient oaks, integral to Gehry�s �Dance with the Trees� design, were pitiful. Although Gehry�s innovative techniques allowed for hurricanes, the structures were not far enough along in construction to withstand Katrina�s fury.

Two nearly completed �pods� of the four that would comprise the George E. Ohr Gallery opened like flower petals. The Center for Ceramics stood, but needs repairs and completion. The Gallery of African-American Art was hit by a barge; the Pleasant Reed House, built by a freed slave and moved to the museum�s campus as part of the its more encompassing cultural mission, simply disappeared.

Like Ohr in 1894, the museum staff, trustees and supporters, indeed the art world itself, stood on a precipice. Rebuild? Walk away? The costs to reconstruct and finish would be astronomical and money was uncertain in the wake of Katrina.

Like Ohr in 1894, no one threw in the proverbial towel.

First announced plans were to build back with just a part of Gehry�s original design. Now, with a $15 million insurance payment and other help from government and private grants and a small but continuous flow of donations, rebuilding plans have expanded and work is again under way.

�Since the storm, the museum has used the theme �Ohr Rising� because we are inspired by Ohr�s not only coming back after the fire but creating the best work of his life,� said Marjie Gowdy, the museum�s director.

When finished, the pods will be encased in angelhair-brushed stainless steel and topped with a glass atrium that will make the pods and tree limbs seem to dance as one.

A recent pod party was the museum�s message that it has accepted a vital role in the rebirth and economic redevelopment of the Katrina-ravaged Mississippi Coast.

The grand opening for at least three of the main buildings, including the Ohr Gallery, may come as early as December 2009. Construction contracts will be awarded in January.

�I believe the mission of the museum has changed since Katrina,� said Larry Clark, trustee president and co-owner of Butch Oustalet Autoplex in Gulfport. �We now have greater responsibility to promote historical and cultural preservation than before the storm. We have the opportunity to develop a quality of life that will make people want to live here.�

When Ohr rebuilt his pottery in 1894, the region was in the midst of an economic boom from the rising seafood industry. Now, the expected boom emanates from resort casinos and repackaging of coastal amenities that have long made this a desirable place to live and visit.

The Gehry-designed museum is expected to give art an even bigger post-Katrina role.

�We feel another part of our mission is economic development,� Clark said. �The museum can bring a caliber of tourists to the Coast that will be attracted no other way.�

When George Ohr rebuilt after the fire, he constructed an unusual pagoda tower that brought the curious and was featured in post cards.

There are other analogies to the 1894 fire. The museum is peddling fundraising clay bricks that could be Ohr�s long-ago tickets, and as for the burned babies, those could easily be the survivor oaks so integral to the Gehry design.

Only one oak was lost to the storm. Remaining trees have been trimmed of hurt limbs, fertilized and their soil aerated. They still hurt, but those who understand trees see the new-growth leaves as miraculous.

�The oaks make the Frank Gehry experience here unlike anywhere else � Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Bilbao, Spain,� said Clark.

Because of Gehry�s first impressions in 2000, the Ohr oaks will forever be in a protected dance that includes an upside-down water-fertilizing system under the terrace and buildings.

�Because of the trees, we were given the 3-inch rule by Gehry,� said Joey Crain, of Guild Hardy Architects, the Mississippi firm hired by Gehry. �We could move a surface up to three inches, but if we move it more, we have to get permission.�

As local project architect, Crain must see that all structural skeletons, mechanical systems such as air conditioning, and piers for the buildings and terrace coexist in tight spaces without compromising Gehry�s aesthetics. Modern technology made that possible.

�Arborists exposed every root, which gave us GPS points,� Crain said. �We reconstructed the root network on a computer and then we knew where we couldn�t put our 600 piles.�

Once the trees and major limbs were mapped and a scale model constructed, Gehry took snub-nosed pliers, tape and poster board and designed the buildings among the model trees.

Computer fabrications and other scale models led to Gehry�s final design. Groundbreaking came in 2003, and Gehry�s intriguing shapes began appearing.

Twenty-seven months after Katrina, 10 trucks arrived with giant pod sections - some replacements, others made before the storm but never installed. Now the dance begins again, and soon nine more oaks will be planted as future dance partners, as Gehry had planned even before the storm losses.

BLX 101
Dec 12, 2007, 11:37 PM
Posted on Wed, Dec. 12, 2007
Splendors of the Orient
By MARY PEREZ
meperez@sunherald.com


BILOXI -- Today is the opening of Harrah's Grand Biloxi Casino, Hotel and Spa's new Asian gaming area and noodle bar.
This is the first major addition to the casino since it reopened after Hurricane Katrina in August 2006, said Karen Sock, the Grand's general manager.

The area is located off the casino floor next to the buffet. Monday night some of the best Total Rewards players from the Houston market were invited to dinner, and they will join today's festivities, which include a ribbon cutting and a ceremonial lion dance that traditionally brings luck and prosperity.

"It's the first room of this type in the market," said Sock. "This is a vibrant and very important segment of our business." Harrah's invested several million dollars to create the Asian bistro and gambling area with six table games, she said.

Similar Asian gaming rooms were built at three Harrah's properties in Atlantic City - Caesars, Bally's and the Showboat - and at Harrah's Lake Tahoe, said Sock. Using feng shui, the designer who worked at several Harrah's properties gave the room clean lines and high-end finishes such as Chinese terra cotta tiles and etched stone.

Abundant accents of gold, the Asian color of luck, were used in the room where guests play at the one blackjack, two pai gow and three mini-baccarat tables.

The Cuu Long Souper Pho noodle bar serves steaming bowls of noodles and rice with chicken, duck, pork and beef, along with spring and egg rolls and flavored bubble tea.

"It's a unique experience," Sock said. "I'd love for people to come take a look at it."

The table games are open 24 hours a day and the noodle bar from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Sunday through Wednesday and 24 hours Thursday through Sunday.

BLX 101
Dec 15, 2007, 10:06 AM
Gulf Coast Investment Developers has updated their website; I was disappointed that there is no update on the Edgewater Tower or the Shores of Paradise which had sold out prior to Katrina. Hopefully, Revelay along with Bacaran Bay will break ground within the next two months. Ocean Club is scheduled to begin construction on their second tower in 2008 as well. Now, if only Dale/Morris could update their site to give us a glimpse at Bayview and Vieux Crescente Casino Resorts.


http://gcid.biz/

Red UM Rebel
Dec 16, 2007, 1:50 AM
Italian in early '08, Mexi-Cali after Christmas
By TAMMY SMITH
tmsmith@sunherald.com

LINK (http://www.sunherald.com/201/story/249538.html)

BILOXI --
Two restaurants, one a Biloxi branch of a Coast favorite, the other a Mexi-Cali sports bar, are slated to open in Edgewater Village.

Jamie Sablich III, co-owner of Al Fresco Italian Bistro in Ocean Springs, plans to bring the popular eatery's pasta, pizza and steaks to Biloxi in early 2008.

"We're opening our second location there," he said. "Our target date is March 1.

"We think we have a great product in Ocean Springs. The (Biloxi) location excited us - it's beachfront. And we'd like to be a part of Biloxi. We'll have the same menu, same prices as our Ocean Springs restaurant."

That includes Filet Michelle, with a crabmeat and Hollandaise topping, and tiramisu made from scratch.

"And a lot of people come just for the bread," he added.

Sablich even plans to re-create a popular feature at the Biloxi site.

"We're going to try to duplicate the courtyard location indoors, with fountain and everything," he said. The 7,900-square-foot restaurant will occupy the entire southern part of the shopping center, he said.

Nearby, Marig's Mexi-Cali Grill & Sports Bar is putting finishing touches on their restaurant. Owner John Marigliano said the concept might be new to Coast customers, but he thinks it will catch on quickly.

"The Mexi-Cali might be throwing people off. It's a blend of Mexican food with California-style burritos," he said.

It's a mix popular in Atlanta, where Marigliano and his wife, Brittany, lived - he for 13 years, she since middle school.

"We were both lawyers in Atlanta," he said. They were both defense lawyers, and the couple soon realized caseloads were taking over their time together. They moved to the Coast near relatives and began working on putting their restaurant and sports bar together.

"We would love to be open by Dec. 27," he said.

He describes the menu as "fast fresh food," with filet steak and marinated chicken among key ingredients in the burritos, which can be customized.

The sports bar will feature 16 high-definition TVs with satellite connections, a separate appetizer menu and a large beer selection.

"We've sampled a lot of beers. We plan to have eight on draft and 30 to 35 in bottles - and every Mexican beer you can think of. The margaritas, we'll have eight to nine types of tequila," he said.

"We hope, once the dinner crowd dies down at night, the whole thing can merge into a friendly, fun atmosphere for everybody," Marigliano said.

Red UM Rebel
Dec 18, 2007, 2:25 AM
By RYAN LaFONTAINE
rlafontaine@sunherald.com

LINK (http://www.sunherald.com/278/story/249522.html)

Dr. Mobi Solangi, who spent more than two decades caring for dolphins at Marine Life, is locked in a legal battle with his former partner-turned-rival, Don Jacobs, Marine Life's majority stockholder.

Solangi is scheduled to meet with the City Council on Tuesday to ask the city to allow his Institute for Marine Mammal Studies to begin exploring the idea of building a new oceanarium in Jones Park.

Word of Solangi's plans for Jones Park began circulating late last month.

On Dec. 1, Marine Life president David Lion sent a letter to City Hall expressing the company's interests in participating "with the city in its efforts to rejuvenate the tourism industry" and "exploring redevelopment opportunities."

"Whatever (Marine Life) wants to do, more power to them," Solangi said of the company that ousted him after he filed his lawsuit.

Marine Life's letter does not mention any specific plans or dates to rebuild the oceanarium, but Lion said the company is exploring several potential options.

"Whether it's a casino with a Marine Life theme or another oceanarium, we don't know yet," he said. "But with the right economic engine, we want to work with the city and do whatever's best for that area."

Solangi said IMMS, a non-profit organization, eventually wants to build an oceanarium in the park as part of an extension to the research center at the Industrial Seaway. Those plans don't include Marine Life.

"We are not asking the city to approve anything right now," Solangi said. "We are only wanting to begin discussing ideas with them."

Solangi, a marine biologist, said the institute's $3 million 12-acre research and conservation facility along the Industrial Seaway could be operational sometime in the spring.

The research center will have more than 750,000 gallons of tank space, a 200-seat auditorium and a veterinary hospital.

When it's complete, Solangi said, the facility will be unmatched by any other marine mammal research center along the Gulf of Mexico.

The group will use the facility to study and treat injured animals. The ones that cannot be released back into the wild would be housed at the new oceanarium.

Some City Council members are concerned about whether Solangi's non-profit group can secure the full funding for such a project.

And if the institute builds the oceanarium, can it afford the land lease? The small pre-Katrina bait shop in Jones Park was leasing its spot for $1,200 a month.

Councilwoman Libby Milner-Roland, who represents the area around Jones Park, said she wonders how well the proposal would mesh with the city's ambitious plans to revitalize the park.

"I want Jones Park done right; it means too much to the city and I don't care how long it takes," she said. "The bottom line is I'm not willing to locate anything in Jones Park right now until all of our other plans move further along."

While she is thankful for Solangi's two decades of dedication to marine mammals and to the city, Milner-Roland said the group would likely have to build the oceanarium in stages and whether the non-profit can maintain a stream of funding throughout construction is a concern.

"Yes, I do want an aquarium - a first-class facility - but I don't want to do anything in phases," she said.

Red UM Rebel
Dec 23, 2007, 5:06 AM
Casino revenue surpasses $100M
By MARY PEREZ
meperez@sunherald.com

LINK (http://www.sunherald.com/casinos/story/256214.html)

BILOXI --
The Coast casinos are jingling all the way into the record books, with the gross gaming revenue breaking $100 million in November for the first time.

Numbers released by the Mississippi State Tax Commission Tuesday show the Coast revenue was $104.1 million, beating the previous record of $99.1 million in 2004.

Revenue in the Mississippi River counties rose $1 million in November, which pushed the state total to $225.5 million and a record November for Mississippi.

"It's nice to continue to see that we're coming back," said Boomtown Casino General Manager Chett Harrison. "Very nice. We hope it continues."

October was the only month this year when the Coast gross gaming revenue fell below $100 million. A strong showing for November means the state and the Coast are poised to shatter previous yearly records.

On the Coast, the total revenue stands at $1.199 billion after 11 months, which is already higher than any yearly total except the $1.227 record for the 12 months of 2004. The state total is $2.664 billion. With revenues averaging $221 million for the past two months, the goal for 2007 of $3 billion is just out of reach.

Harrison said he is especially encouraged by the Coast's record because November isn't traditionally a strong month at the casinos. The casino operators are now turning their attention to snowbird season, he said. Most of Boomtown's marketing to snowbirds is done at Gulf Shores, Fort Walton, Destin and Plantation areas or Florida rather than in the Northeast or upper Midwest.

"They usually start showing up the first of January" in Florida, he said, and after a couple of weeks the snowbirds are looking for something to do besides walking on the beach. Wholesale motor coach trips to Biloxi provide three-day packages with free play and a meal.

Boomtown is spending $4.5 million to completely remodel its buffet and Harrison said his goal is to have it ready by Jan. 18 for snowbird season.

"Last year was spectacular," Harrison said, and he welcomes the cold and snowy weather that is already hitting the north this winter. "We love it. We hope a blizzard runs through the Midwest."

WEB EXTRA

For more information on gross gaming revenue, go to sunherald.com

November gross gaming revenue


Coast Casinos $104.1 million
River Counties $121.3 million
State total $217 million
- MISSISSIPPI STATE TAX COMMISSION

Red UM Rebel
Dec 28, 2007, 3:32 PM
LINK (http://www.wlox.com/global/story.asp?s=7545465)

Businesses around South Mississippi are still impressed with the growing number of customers since the re-opening of the Biloxi-Ocean Springs Bridge. There are two lanes open and more scheduled to open next year, making the bridge South Mississippi's link to the Eastern Gulf Coast.

"Without the bridge open, it really did disrupt the normal traffic patterns here on the coast," says Rich Westfall with the Isle of Capri.

He says he is convinced that the five percent increase in gaming over the last year is due to the re-opening of the bridge.

When Hurricane Katrina destroyed the bridge, casino leaders knew it would lose customers who travel from Jackson County, Mobile and Pensacola, but now that the bridge has reopened, they say business is booming.

"MDOT has said that were averaging about 21,000 cars coming across the bridge on a daily basis," Westfall said.

He says those cars are forced to pass by the Isle, which gives the casino an advantage over its competitors.

However, LuAnn Pappas says the same can be said for the Grand Casino.

"We have seen our business increase since last year and certainly since the bridge has opened," Pappas said.

She says with the influx of traffic, the Grand can offer even more amenities to its guest. Now casino leaders can't wait to see what six lanes on the bridge will mean for South Mississippi's growing casino industry.

MDOT anticipates having all six lanes of the bridge open by the spring of 2008.

by Elise Roberts

BLX 101
Jan 5, 2008, 12:23 AM
HAPPY NEW YEAR!

My supervisor informed several of us this morning that the Isle should be unveiling its redesigned floor plans for the casino in the next couple of days. Hopefully a theater and clubs, which guests have been asking for, are included. Also, according to last weeks issue of the Biloxi-D'Iberville Bay Press, Yates Construction Co. should soon begin a 24hr work schedule at the Margaritaville site. :cheers:

Red UM Rebel
Jan 5, 2008, 5:44 AM
Thanks BLX! I can't wait to see what the Isle has in store for us!

Velastor
Jan 5, 2008, 7:44 AM
News would be good, the forum has been sorta dead during the holidays.