D'Iberville council approves casino's master plan

D'IBERVILLE, MS (WLOX) - By Krystal Allan – bio | email

D'IBERVILLE, MS (WLOX) - D'Iberville city leaders envision the Can Can casino as a launching pad for development. It's part of a development called the French Village which will consist of the Can Can, a hotel, stores, restaurants and entertainment.

"We've learned from the Promenade that when you bring in an anchor store like Target, what happens around it. The CanCan casino will be the 'anchor store' to spur growth in the entire old village area," D'Iberville Mayor Rusty Quave said.

That's the vision city leaders hope developers will also see as the city pushes forward with four new projects, separate from the Can Can development. They are the Oyster Bay Casino and Resort, the Hattie Mae Children's Healthy Living Center, the French Market and the Ocean Expo.

The French Market is a mixed-used, retail development proposed for the downtown area of the city. It is a separate project from the French Village which includes the CanCan casino.  It will sit just north of that property.

The Ocean Expo is a $75 million oceanarium and the new home of the Institute for Marine Mammal Studies.

"They truly are economic development projects. They represent approximately 2,000 jobs, $560 million of private investment and $16 million in tax collections for the state."

The city's plans will be submitted on Friday during a special session on economic development called by Governor Haley Barbour. City leaders are asking state lawmakers to pass a bill allowing D'Iberville to purchase and lease city-owned land to developers for 99 years.

"D'Iberville is really working to diversify. We're certainly known for retail now. Now, with the casino coming, that's another amenity that we have. And, of course, the family amenities like the aquariums, bowling alleys, movie theatres and waterpark soon to come," said City Manager Michael Janus.

It's the second time the city has asked lawmakers to approve the land leases.  But, this time, officials say their changes of getting lawmakers to approve the bill look much better.

"By the time we got our legislation drafted and sent up to Jackson, it was toward the tail end of the session. So we really were running against the clock to get it passed. But since that time, we've been working with the governor's office to assure them our projects are viable and they truly are economic development projects," Janus said.

Janus said the 99 year lease is needed, otherwise any lease agreements the city enters into would only last the term of the current mayor and council.

As for the Can-Can, it's a separate project. Janus said it will move forward regardless of Friday's decision because it will not be built on city-owned land.

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