Developer taking a chance on Ocean Springs

By Doug Walker – bio | email

OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - Fred Moran was born and raised in Ocean Springs, and believes in the economic vitality of the city.  That's why he's investing $3 million developing two properties in the downtown area, and fells like that is bargain.

"I feel this community is ripe for further development," Moran said. "The people enjoy coming here and living here. It's got an excellent school system, excellent shopping opportunities and housing opportunities, and I think the coast will continue to be a draw."

One development is at the corner of Government Street and Washington Avenue. On Monday, workers were putting the finishing touches on drywall, and smoothing out window surfaces.  The corner building will be home to several retail shops and an upscale lounge and restaurant.

Moran is pleased by the reception the building has received.

"I feel very comfortable with the building in particular at 1000 Government Street, excited to say that it's been 100 percent leased, which is tall order in this difficult time."

On Porter Avenue, another retail shopping center is under construction, which will have room for four businesses. Moran said it should be ready for tenants to move in by the end of March, and is already 75 percent leased out.

Moran credits post-Katrina Go-Zone legislation for making these projects possible, a sentiment echoed by the head of the city's chamber of commerce, Margaret Miller.

"For Fred, it made all the difference between a project that was, and has been on the planning board for a number of years, but it put it over the edge," Miller said.

And Moran believes that edge is what will help him and the city realize a more prosperous future.

©2009 WLOX. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.