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  #1  
Old Posted Jun 1, 2007, 4:59 PM
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MISSISSIPPI GULF COAST | (Biloxi, Gulfport, and other MS Coastal Cities)

Project Rundown - Continuously Updated!

Condos

Condos - Biloxi


South Beach - Completed (First Tower) - Biloxi
  • Veterans and Beach Blvd
  • 326 Units (Over 1000 once entire complex is finished)
  • $800,000,000 (for the entire complex)
  • RW Development
  • Roy Anderson Construction
  • http://www.southbeachbiloxi.com







Beau View Condos - First Tower Completed (Other Three Pre-Construction) - Biloxi




Ocean Club Biloxi - First Tower Completed (Other Two Pre-Construction) - Biloxi



Casinos

Can Can Casino - Pre-Construction - D'Iberville
  • 250 hotel room
  • 60,000 sq. feet of casino space
  • CanCan Development, LLC
  • Yates Construction chosen





Oyster Bay Casino - Pre-Construction - D'Iberville
  • French Quarter Theme
  • 65,000 sq. feet of casino space
  • Seafood Heritage Museum
  • $150,000,000




Palace Casino Resort Expansion - Construction - Biloxi
  • Trying to regain space lost by Hurricane Katrina
  • 38,000 sq. feet of casino space
  • 110,000 sq. feet of total space
  • New restaurants
  • $45,000,000


Other



William Carey College Campus at Traditions - Under Construction - Harrison County
  • 50 acres
  • 3000 students
  • 2009 completion




Completed Since 2004


Sea Breeze Biloxi - Tower 1 Completed - Biloxi
  • 1899 Beach Blvd
  • 101 Units
  • 222'
  • Roy Anderson Construction
  • $21,865,000





Beau View Condos - First Tower Completed - Biloxi



Ocean Club Biloxi - First Tower Completed - Biloxi



Hard Rock Casino - Completed and Open - Biloxi


Sienna - Completed - Gulfport



Legacy Towers (2 Towers) - Completed - Gulfport




Biloxi/Ocean Springs Bridge - Completed



Mississippi Gulf Coast Coliseum - Biloxi - Completed










Postponed or Canceled


Beau Soliel - Pre-Construction - Biloxi (Permit Lapsed)



Venezia Resort - Pre-Construction - Biloxi (Permit Lapsed)




The Revelay - Pre-Constuction - Biloxi (Permit Lapsed)
  • 2400 Beach Blvd
  • 380 Units
  • 185'
  • Gulf Coast Investment Developers & Sterling Resorts
  • Yates Construction
  • http://www.revelay.com

(Scaled down picture with groundbreaking soon)


Viuex Crescente - Pre-Construction - Biloxi (Back Bay) (Permit Lapse)
  • Back Bay Blvd & Oak Street
  • 286 Units (Phase I - Right Tower)
  • 365'
  • Casino being designed into project
  • Sandmark Bay, LLC
  • Dale and Associates Architects
  • http://www.vuecrescente.com




Bienville Condos - Postponed - Biloxi


Towers at Edgewater - Canceled - Biloxi (Design change underway due to Height Restriction by City)
  • 2660 Beach Blvd
  • 500 Units
  • 374'
  • $87,000,000
  • Gulf Coast Investment Developers



Habor Point Condos - Canceled - Biloxi - NOW WYNDHAM HOTEL PROJECT
  • 695 Beach Blvd
  • 242 Units
  • 278'




Shores of Paradise - Canceled - Biloxi




Savannah Estates - Cancelled - Biloxi


Sterling Beach - Cancelled - Biloxi
  • 1775 Beach Blvd
  • 87 Units
  • 100'
  • $20,000,000
  • Gulf Coast Investment Developers & Sterling Resorts
  • http://www.gcid.biz




Aqua - Cancelled - Biloxi
http://www.gcid.biz



Gold Coast - On-Hold - Biloxi
  • Veterans Avenue
  • Part of $800,000,000 Development
  • RW Development




Avalon Condo Development (Conversion from Gulf Towers) (Cancelled - Converted into Four Points by Sheraton Opening July 15, 2010)




Wyndham Harbour Pointe Resort - On-Hold - Biloxi
  • Biloxi Small Craft Harbor
  • 24 Stories
  • 400 Rooms
  • $90,000,000
  • Wyndham Resort Group




Old VA being redeveloped into Resort - On-Hold - Gulfport
  • HRI Properties of New Orleans




Caribbean Dream - On-Hold - Gulfport




Emerald Breeze - Cancelled - Long Beach


Gulf View - Cancelled - Long Beach




Havana Casino - Project Dead (Regrettably) - Biloxi




Bacarn Bay - Project being reconfigured - Biloxi
  • 377 Caillavet Street
  • 1122 Units (663 Condos, 459 Suites)
  • 247'
  • 67,000 square feet of casino space
  • 80,000 square feet of convention space
  • $600,000,000
  • Torguson Gaming
  • Roy Anderson Construction
  • Dale Morris Architects PLLC
  • http://www.bacaranbay.com






Gold Coast Casino - Project not approved by Gaming Commission








Bayview Casino Resort - Looking for Financing/On-Hold - Biloxi
  • Back Bay Blvd.
  • 519 hotel rooms
  • 70,000 square feet of casino space
  • 25,000 square feet of convention space
  • $325,000,000
  • Dale/Morris Architecture



Margaritaville Casino - Harrah's Financial Problems/On-Hold - Biloxi
  • 279 Beach Blvd
  • 798 Rooms
  • 100,000 square feet of casino space
  • 66,000 square feet of convention space
  • 250,000 square feet of shopping space
  • $700,000,000
  • Harrah's





Very rough sketch (Perspective: driving west on Highway 90)


Construction Cam Link
http://oxblue.com/pro/open/?webPath=harrahs/biloxi

Last edited by Red UM Rebel; May 18, 2010 at 5:55 AM. Reason: Adding New Di
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  #2  
Old Posted Jun 2, 2007, 3:26 AM
thebestdillweed thebestdillweed is offline
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im happy to see that the Mississippi coast has its own thread now, its amazing how much new constructions going on their.
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  #3  
Old Posted Jun 2, 2007, 4:41 AM
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Wow, good idea for a thread. Nice to see all this construction going on there!
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  #4  
Old Posted Jun 2, 2007, 6:39 PM
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Very colonial architecture, gotta love the Havanna Casino! Not seras tower or the burj but really clever!
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  #5  
Old Posted Jun 4, 2007, 2:08 PM
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New Public Transit Plan to Help With Growth

Plan aims to stymie gridlock growth
By RYAN LaFONTAINE
rlafontaine@sunherald.com


GULFPORT --Anyone who's ever been behind someone making a left turn on Pass Road knows the value of a good set of brakes. If your afternoon commute runs along U.S. 49 near Interstate 10, you might as well walk.

Throw in a few fellow drivers with a death wish, plus escalating gas prices and a swelling population, and suddenly the future of daily commutes in South Mississippi seems horrifying.

Profound traffic congestion, once a problem limited to major cities such as New York and Los Angeles, is rapidly becoming a serious issue in much smaller communities across the country.

On Thursday, the Metropolitan Planning Organization approved the Coast Transit Authority's long-range development plan designed to relieve future gridlock with public transit, including an electric streetcar line along the beach and a bus-rapid transit system from Pascagoula to Bay St. Louis by 2030.

In a 2005 pre-storm study, the Gulf Regional Planning Commission reckoned an average of 70,000 drivers a day used U.S. 49 and about 27,000 traveled Pass Road. Recent population estimates show those numbers growing significantly in the future.

That same year, some of the nation's most celebrated urban planners met at a summit in Biloxi to dream up ideas for rebuilding after Hurricane Katrina. During the brainstorming sessions, a transportation committee suggested a light-rail system or other forms of mass transit to help ease future traffic flow and connect the three Coast counties.

The dream of a Coast connected by an impeccable public transit system appeared to meet its demise when Congress sliced a chunk of federal funding from an emergency-spending bill in June 2006.

In an effort to keep the transportation plans from being shelved next to several other charrette-born ideas, the Gulf Regional Planning Commission expanded its research of population and traffic trends and CTA studied several types of mass transit, including a light-rail line.

Dozens of U.S. cities have turned to light-rail and bus-rapid transit systems to help relieve traffic strains, but will such systems work here and can South Mississippi support them?
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Old Posted Jun 6, 2007, 1:09 AM
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i'm glad to see that you guys are recovering from katrina so well down there. i think that mississippi's gulf coast where teh casinos are is going to eventually overtake atlantic city, in due time of course.
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Old Posted Jun 6, 2007, 1:29 PM
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Avalon Condo Tower Units for Sale

By PRISCILLA FRULLA
pfrulla@sunherald.com

Units at Avalon are for sale. Developers are launching a marketing campaign for the 10-story tower on U.S. 90 near I-110 today.

The building at 940 Beach Blvd. in Biloxi, formerly known as Gulf Towers, has been completely gutted since receiving severe damage from Hurricane Katrina. Strategic Capital Partners of Chicago and Wilton Partners of Los Angeles purchased the property in 2006 and are beginning a complete renovation. The total project cost is estimated at $37 million.

The tower will have 198 condotel units, a rooftop restaurant, an infinity-edge pool and lobby and rooftop lounges. Plasma televisions, granite workstations and mahogany furnishings are among the unit amenities.
Laurie Smith of SCP said Avalon's location, diagonally across from Beau Rivage and Hard Rock casinos, is one of its most important features.

The units will range in square footage from 430 to 800 and sell for $199,000 to $500,000, said Smith. The project is scheduled to be completed by fall 2008.

Crescent Management Co., Washington, D.C., will have an on-site office to rent out units. Construction will be done by Rawlins Co. of Houston.

Biloxi-based GCID helped broker the deal and the company's real estate division is listing the units.
________________________________________
Avalon file
Address: 940 Beach Blvd., Biloxi.
Units: 198.
Unit square footage: 430 to 800.
Unit prices: $199,000 to $500,000.
Details: TheAvalonBiloxi.com or 888-806-9604.
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Old Posted Jun 12, 2007, 1:06 PM
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Emeril's Fish House opens June 22
By MARY PEREZ
meperez@sunherald.com

GULFPORT --Chef Emeril Lagasse will put some bam! in the Coast recovery on June 22 with the public opening of Emeril's Gulf Coast Fish House at Island View Casino and Resort.

This is one of the first restaurants to open on the beach in Gulfport since Hurricane Katrina. Initially the Gulf Coast Fish House will serve dinner Sunday through Thursday from 5:30 to 10 p.m. and Friday and Saturday until 11 p.m. Lunch will be served in the near future.

Reservations are recommended and can be made by calling 314-1515.

Island View owner Rick Carter said Emeril's will have outside dining "with the best views on the entire Gulf Coast," and chef de cuisine Steve D'Angelo describes the restaurant as casual and trendy.

Emeril said he at first didn't want to open a restaurant on the Mississippi Coast. "I want to relax here," he said. His wife, Alden, is a native of Gulfport and Emeril said among his staff, "We all have a lot of roots here in Mississippi." He said he plans to take advantage of the location and feature fresh regional seafood.

A VIP grand opening reception for the restaurant on June 20 will benefit The Lynn Meadows Discovery Center in Gulfport. Emeril and Alden Lagasse are co-chairs of a national campaign to raise $2 million to create a performing arts center at the museum.
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Old Posted Jun 15, 2007, 2:41 PM
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Destin company signs on with Sienna on the Coast

Destin company signs on with Sienna on the Coast

Sterling Resorts has signed a multi-year contract to handle rental property and manage the homeowners' association for Sienna on the Coast. The 82-unit building is scheduled to open next month on U.S. 90 in Gulfport.

Sterling Resorts is a Destin-based vacation-rental management firm.



~The Sun Herald
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Old Posted Jun 15, 2007, 3:10 PM
thebestdillweed thebestdillweed is offline
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does anybody know if they started rebuilding that museum for Ohr again?
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Old Posted Jun 15, 2007, 3:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thebestdillweed View Post
does anybody know if they started rebuilding that museum for Ohr again?
Right now the group is trying to raise more money to rebuild the museum. Other than the loss of life due to the Hurricane, this is one of the largest tragedies.

For those who read this and are not sure what you are talking about. Five years ago the Ohr Museum started and ambitiously rose however many million to build a five or six building complex all designed by renowned architect Frank Gehry. Most of the frames for all of the buildings were complete before the hurricane. During the hurricane, the Grand Casino barge was ripped from its moorings and actually was washed on top of and destroyed most buildings in the complex. Although the museum had construction insurance (Federal Emergency Mismanagement Association Issurance though ), cost for construction has gone up 72% on the Coast, so they are having to redouble the efforts to raise money. They city recently renovated and gave the Museum a historical home owned by the city as a temporary location. (Glenn L. Swetman House)

They hope to start construction on the property next fall. Another complication is that the city is deciding where to rebuild the Seafood Industry Museum, either on the Ohr property, next to the Ohr property, or at its original home on the Point (PRIME casino location)


For more info http://www.georgeohr.org/

Design




Current

Last edited by Red UM Rebel; Jun 15, 2007 at 3:53 PM.
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Old Posted Jun 18, 2007, 10:50 PM
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Battle of the Condos

Competitors racing toward finish line
By PRISCILLA FRULLA
SUN HERALD

BILOXI --Bienville’s developers billed their project as the first new condominiums to break ground in Biloxi after Hurricane Katrina, but South Beach’s builders, RW Development, beat them to the punch.

The two development sites are about half a mile apart on the sand beach on the south side of U.S. 90. Between the Bienville site just west of Veterans Avenue and the South Beach site near Travia Avenue are other RW properties slated for development and the proposed site for Seaside condominiums.

Work on South Beach began almost 60 days ago with little notice, perhaps because the developers did not start unit pre-sales prior to construction like dozens of condo builders.

“We have not released any units for sale,” said RW vice president Granville Smith. “We took an alternative strategy. We are building it, and we will sell it when we can show the buyer the project is fully under way.”

Many developers have to get hard contracts on 50 to 75 percent of their units to get the financing to build condos.

“If we waited to make a sales milestone then it could potentially delay the start of the project, and we didn’t want to do that,” said Smith. “We are able to do this because of our willingness to make a speculative commitment. We are willing to take that risk because of our confidence in the vision of Biloxi as a resort gaming destination.”

RW has bought more than 50 acres along Veterans Avenue and U.S. 90 and plans more than $800 million in total construction. The construction in progress on the south side of U.S. 90 is the first phase of South Beach. Additional phases will be built on the north side.

Construction crews have finished driving piles into the bedrock which will support the foundation of South Beach and are beginning the vertical construction phase, which is much more visible to passers-by. South Beach will be move-in ready by late summer of 2008, said Smith.

Public relations officials representing Atlanta-based developers Curt Patton and Cortland Partners announced last month that Bienville would be the first new condominium development to start construction since Hurricane Katrina, with a ground breaking in July and completion by December 2008. But representatives were not aware of the lower-profile building going on at neighboring South Beach.

Colin Edelstein of Cortland Partners said being first was not the most important thing about his $63 million project at the site formerly occupied by Emerald Quality Inn.

“Bienville’s most distinguishing feature is it’s on the beach. Every single one of our units will have a panoramic Gulf view,” said Edelstein.

Several more condo-related announcements are expected this summer.

Ocean Club, which began construction prior to the storm, is only days away from completion, said Biloxi’s director of community development Jerry Creel.

The next condo project to reach completion is expected to be Beau View in the next two to three months, he said.

The next ground breaking after Bienville and South Beach is expected to be Bacaran Bay in the late summer or early fall, said Creel, after all the permits are issued.
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Old Posted Jun 21, 2007, 1:15 AM
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Council approves Boomtown rezoning

~Sun Herald

By JOSHUA NORMAN
jdnorman@sunherald.com

BILOXI --The Biloxi City Council voted 4-2 Tuesday afternoon in favor of rezoning 23 acres of Boomtown Casino's property on the southwestern corner of Main Street and Bayview Avenue to allow for gambling, among other things.


The second presentation in two weeks to the City Council by Boomtown attorney Michael Cavanaugh highlighted an added 150-by-400-foot park with a playground for kids that will be leased back to the city for a nominal fee.

Councilman George Lawrence, who voted against this rezoning along with Councilman David Fayard, said that when the council asked the Boomtown representatives to come back to present plans for the site, he expected more than what they presented.

Their presentation did not make sense, Lawrence said, because the zoning there already allowed for what they showed plans.

"They came back with another parking lot," said Lawrence, adding that he was skeptical that their long-term plans involved leaving the property a parking lot. Lawrence said that if Boomtown plans on eventually building a casino or hotel on the site, which the zoning change now allows, he wants to see plans.

Another large development was approved by the council earlier 6-0 to rezone property along Veterans Avenue to allow RW Development to begin the first phase of a massive redevelopment.

The council approved zoning changes to allow a large mixed-use complex on 18.94 acres on the northwest intersection of Veterans and the CSX tracks with 110,000 square feet of retail space and nearly 1,200 multi-family housing units

<<RW Development is South Beach ^ Above >>
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Old Posted Jun 21, 2007, 1:40 AM
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Emeril Isle

Coastal gem in an Island View setting
By MARY PEREZ
meperez@sunherald.com

Chef Emeril Lagasse gives a tour of his new restaurant Gulf Coast Fish House inside the Island View Casino Tuesday afternoon.
Emeril's preview (June 20)

Emeril's empire

GULFPORT --Emeril Lagasse is as kicked up about his tenth restaurant as he was about his first, and as he gave the Sun Herald a sneak peek of the new Emeril's Gulf Coast Fish House on Tuesday he revealed he'd just bought the space he's leased for 17 years for his first restaurant, Emeril's in New Orleans.

"This is pretty exciting," he said as dozens of chefs and waitstaff cooked and set tables. Emeril cookbooks and T-shirts were shelved and casino guests poked their heads around the black curtains for a look at Emeril's Gulfport creation.

They couldn't see much beyond the walls that curve around the bar and dining rooms, except the thousands of hand-cut crystal bubbles that float from the ceiling. "I can't wait for you to see it at night," Lagassesaid.

The curtain that separates the restaurant from the casino floor will open on cue this evening. About 400 invited guests were expected to attend the celebration but more than twice that number returned their RSVPs and sent a contribution to the Lynn Meadows Discovery Center. The restaurant opens to the public Friday.

"For me it's more than just opening another restaurant," said Lagasse. His wife, Alden, grew up in Gulfport and many of the staff members are from the Coast. Chef de cuisine Steve D'Angelo, general manager Jason Lonigro and their staff of 90 "are here for the long haul," which includes buying fresh fish and produce from local fish boats and farmers.

Although it's his tenth opening, Lagasse is concerned about meeting expectations. He's brought chefs and managers from New Orleans and his other restaurants to train the staff and make a good first impression.

Guests will be impressed with both the décor and cuisine. Earthtones are mixed with sea colors and art Alden chose to reflect the beach location. A 4,000-bottle wine tower separates dining rooms from the entrance and curved banquettes look out on the open kitchen, the beach or the landscaping that will one day be the hotel's pool and spa. Those who choose can relax on the wraparound porch with a breeze, a drink, a selection from the bar menu and "probably the best view on the Coast."

The views inside are remarkable, too. A food bar is open to the kitchen with four rows of tables behind it. The tables with inlaid colored glass were considered too beautiful to cover, said Lagasse, a self-described white tablecloth kind of guy.

Like the décor, the menu is a mix of earth and sea. He calls his cuisine coastal Creole and his kitchen a state-of-the-art laboratory. "Everything is from scratch," right down to the Worcestershire sauce, he said.

Even a day before the grand opening the menu was still being tweaked. "We made some changes, all good," said Lagasse, who put Portuguese shrimp and pasta on the menu for his mom, Hilda, and Southern dishes like shrimp and grits and andouille sausage-crusted Texas redfish. Side dishes also have Southern flair. Trademark appetizers and desserts such as Emeril's New Orleans-style barbecued shrimp and famous banana cream pie join new selections such as baked Gulf oysters and jumbo lump crabcakes with corn maque choux.

He brings more than a new restaurant to the Coast's recovery; Lagasse has created excitement in the community and enthusiasm among his young staff. "They're so happy and proud to be a part of this whole thing."
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Old Posted Jun 27, 2007, 2:00 PM
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Convention Center going for Tier One

Closing 7 months for makeover
By MARY PEREZ
meperez@sunherald.com
~Sun Herald

BILOXI --The doors will temporarily close at the Coast Coliseum Convention Center after this weekend, bringing the area one step closer to becoming a Tier One tourism destination.

Executive Director Bill Holmes said the board plans to have the Convention Center completely renovated and back open for business by mid-January. A 200,000-square-foot expansion should be complete in late spring 2009.

"Only the Convention Center will close," Holmes said. Concerts, sports and shows will continue, with remodeling of the arena taking place between events.

One of the components necessary to raise the Coast to a Tier One destination is 600,000 square feet of convention space. Holmes said the expansion should bring the area close to that mark, with a total of 385,000 at the Coliseum Convention Center alone. The present exhibit area at the Convention Center will become a ballroom. The expansion will be larger than the current building and will be primarily exhibit space.

Bids were opened last week and Yates Construction was low bidder for the $65 million project. Crews will simultaneously work on remodeling and construction.

After 5 feet of water flooded the Convention Center during Hurricane Katrina, the building was renovated quickly to house FEMA offices. Now it will be completely remodeled with new wallpaper, flooring and lighting in a nautical theme.

Holmes said the Convention Center has to be transformed and back open in time for Carnival season and meetings and other events that mean big business to the Coast. Reservations are already being taken, he said.

The Convention Center has held more than 60 events since January, the largest a convention of 6,000 hairdressers. "This is the last one," Holmes said of the Mississippi Municipal League, which has held its conference at the Coliseum for more than 30 years.

Because there is such demand to come to the Coast, Holmes said, "We're planning and budgeting for another expansion in five to six years."















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Old Posted Jun 29, 2007, 6:31 PM
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Ready To Rock

Hard Rock lights guitar, will open Saturday
By MARY PEREZ
meperez@sunherald.com



BILOXI --The huge Hard Rock Casino guitar that survived Hurricane Katrina was officially lighted Thursday morning and Joe Billhimer, president of the Hard Rock Biloxi, told employees and the media, "Get ready."

"You can feel the energy in here," said Sue Reynolds of Ocean Springs, who was enjoying a sneak peek of Hard Rock Cafe where her daughter, Elaine Murphree, is a bartender. "I had to be the first," Reynolds said as she and Ann Mead of Ocean Springs and Jean Rouse of Gulfport ordered lunch and shopped, helping employees become familiar with their new jobs.

"We've always wanted to open as soon as we possibly could," said Billhimer, who helped restore the $235 million hotel and casino that was heavily damaged by Katrina days before it was set to open. Finishing touches and training will continue right up to opening Saturday at 10 a.m.

Hard Rock Casino looks and sounds distinctive on the outside, with purple windows against white walls and that huge guitar spewing music. Inside, everything from the decor to the enthusiasm of the staff shouts entertainment. A two-story memorabilia tower greets guests just inside the front door and the collection extends to every corner of the resort.

Elvis' uniform, fished out of the Gulf after the storm; a wedding gown worn by Madonna; Elton John's flowing feathered coat; John Lennon's purple jacket; and signed guitars, photographs, art and gold records hang everywhere. A special display shows items returned after the hurricane, including Eddie Van Halen's sneakers, guitars from Ozzy Osbourne and Gene Simmons of Kiss, an Eagles' golden record and a 3 Doors Down tribute.

"Hard Rock is about the music, for sure," said Karl Bulot, senior vice president of non-gaming operations. Almost $3 million in color-changing lights and $5 million in audio and visual equipment surround guests with sight and sound, from the casino floor to the Hard Rock Live venue.

In the Hard Rock Cafe, the menu is the same as in the more than 120 other locations, featuring hamburgers, a rack of smokehouse ribs and crabcakes until 2 a.m. General Manager Tony Poole said, "What makes us different is what we have on the wall," so visitors are encouraged to wander and admire the memorabilia.

For the first opening, Hard Rock began to partner with quality companies that would add to the resort. "We're gaming and entertainment experts," he said of Hard Rock. "Ruth's Chris, a big staple in New Orleans, was a natural for us." Starbucks Coffee and Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream are part of the resort.

Another partner, Rise Lounge on the top floor of Hard Rock, will open Thursday and owner Rande Gerber and his wife, model Cindy Crawford, plan to be there to welcome some of the first guests. "They're the best in the world," Billhimer said of the Gerber Group, which has some of the swankiest restaurants and bars worldwide.

Dorothy Viera, front office manager, said Hard Rock has 26 suites with incredible water and city views and 292 rooms, all with Aveda products, plasma televisions and "sleep-like-a-rock beds."

The resort also has Rock Spa, Satisfaction Buffet and Rock Shops where guests can get their Hard Rock Biloxi T-shirts.

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Old Posted Jun 30, 2007, 8:16 PM
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From hard knocks to HARD ROCK

Casinos bounce back after Katrina
By MARY PEREZ
meperez@sunherald.com

AMANDA McCOY/SUN HERALD

BILOXI --With the Fourth of July, the opening of Hard Rock Casino and the unveiling of an expanded casino at Treasure Bay, there will be plenty of fireworks in Biloxi this week.

City officials are warning traffic will be jammed today, when Hard Rock Casino opens at 10 a.m. The official grand opening runs Thursday through lucky July 7.

Treasure Bay opens the doors to its new casino floor and Infinity Buffet at 5 p.m. Monday. When the remainder of the expansion is complete in September, a grand opening also will celebrate the new infinity pool area, CQ fine dining restaurant, a conference room and 249 hotel rooms and suites.

This week of good news for Biloxi illustrates how the city and casino industry are building back after Hurricane Katrina. Hard Rock was just a couple of days from opening when Katrina destroyed the casino barge, badly damaged the new resort and tossed irreplaceable rock 'n' roll memorabilia into the Mississippi Sound.

The storm surge roared through Treasure Bay's pirate ship and into the hotel across U.S. 90. Legislation permitting onshore gambling allowed the casino to reopen on the first floor of the hotel, but it's only now that many of the employees are returning to their jobs at the casino.

"We're really proud of what we created," said Susan Varnes, chief operating officer of Treasure Bay. "Our whole goal was to create something different than any other casino." They accomplished this by capitalizing on the views. Even the casino floor has a view of the Gulf through floor to ceiling windows in the new front entrance, where colorful chandeliers glow with a thousand pieces of hand-blown glass.

"We had this opportunity to update everything," said Erik Johnson, advertising manager. The more contemporary look complements the stacked stone that was used in the original remodel and extends from the wave walls at the entrance to the casino floor through the entire main level.

Treasure Bay has had only slot machines since the storm. "Now we have table games," said Johnson and an additional 400 slots for more than 800 total.

Across the new stone front entrance to Treasure Bay are five caldrons spurting water. Although they may not be quite ready for Monday's opening, two of them also will shoot flames. Fire, water and stone, the elements of nature, are also a symbol of rebirth under way on the Coast.

Image from Sun Herald ~ Bar at the Hard Rock Cafe



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I have already gone today, ate in the cafe, and bought my t-shirt!!!!!

It is absolutely amazing and I hope everyone on SSP gets to visit. THE nicest casino/cafe/hotel in the entire chain. GOOD JOB!!!
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  #18  
Old Posted Jun 30, 2007, 8:28 PM
thebestdillweed thebestdillweed is offline
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i read Cindy Crawford and her husband will be at the grand opening of his new club on the top floor of the hard rock, that will be really cool having the views of the gulf, i won't get to go until august i also read about some info that sounded like construction might start on the Ohr museum this fall after bids went out
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  #19  
Old Posted Jul 2, 2007, 1:42 AM
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Red UM Rebel Red UM Rebel is offline
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Originally Posted by thebestdillweed View Post
i also read about some info that sounded like construction might start on the Ohr museum this fall after bids went out


I hope, I haven't heard. I took lots of pictures that I will post on a couple of threads.

Gerber Group (Cindy's Husband) was unhappy with the club this past Thursday and is working to totally redo it by this Saturday (The offical Grand opening). The pools at Hard Rock play music under water too!
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Old Posted Jul 6, 2007, 1:28 PM
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Margaritaville takes two steps forward

By MARY PEREZ
meperez@sunherald.com

BILOXI --Margaritaville Casino moved closer to reality Thursday when plans cleared both the Biloxi Architectural Review Commission and Planning Commission.

"This is a good step," said Hal Lamoreaux, Harrah's Central Division project director, after the Planning Commission unanimously accepted the changes.

The amendments to the already approved master plan now go to the City Council before developers can apply for permits and begin construction of the $700 million casino resort on 47 acres. Gary Lechner, who sits on both commissions, said it normally takes about two weeks before the City Council hears the application.

Architectural Review commissioner Mike Hutter asked developers if the streetscape and signs will follow the Margaritaville theme.

"Every one of the Margaritaville restaurants around the world is designed for that location," said senior project manager Mark Waggoner of Marnell Corrao Associates. In Biloxi, "The hotel takes flavor from Key West," with octagonal towers and dormer windows that reflect Jimmy Buffett's memories and his songs. Buffett was born in Pascagoula and grew up on the Coast.

"He wants it to be very carefully designed and detailed," said Waggoner.

Instead of tall buildings, the resort will spread out along the beachfront from the Casino Magic property to the Grand Biloxi. Two pedestrian overpasses will cross U.S. 90 and connect Margaritaville to Harrah's Grand Biloxi.

A variance was required for three marquees that will be placed at both ends and the center porte-cochere. Waggoner said they will be designed similar to properties in Las Vegas, where the signs take on the design flair of the property.

Detailing plans for the resort, Waggoner said Casino Magic will be renovated with 378 guest rooms and a new spa and salon. Grand Biloxi has an additional 494 rooms and Margaritaville will include a 420-room hotel with an outdoor shopping village, casino, meeting and convention space, ballroom and restaurants.

Lamoreaux said the test-pile program is complete at the site and Waggoner said the target opening of Margaritaville is in 2010.
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