Building Boom In Harrison County

It's hard to miss all the construction going on around the Wal-mart Supercenter in D'iberville. Specialty stores, retail centers and restaurants like "Whataburger" are popping up as part of the Lakeview Village Development.

Pat Barber is the President of Encore Enterprises. He said "We've had 2 to 3 restaurants that are committed to going there this year. One opened, and one is about to open here in a few weeks".

The location makes this area a tempting site to set up shop. But the developer says another key ingredient is the economy.

Barber said "There's a lot of growth that is happening on the coast, and people are coming back. I think there was definitely a pent up demand because of the economy slowing down over the last year, so all of it is starting to come back".

Dr. Bharat Sangani with Encore Enterprises agreed. He said "Just from the past few weeks, where the stock market is heading tells us the economy is on a rebound. Suddenly the interest is better, and people are coming in to buy".

That burst in commercial and residential building activity is also happening in other parts of Harrison County. The Harrison County Development Commission reports home building jumped from $86 million last year to nearly $157 million this year. Commercial building also rose from $45 million last year to $65 million this year.

Brynn Joachim is the marketing manager for the agency. She said "I think a lot of it has to do with now that the war is for all intensive purposes over, and I think a lot of people have all this pent up money, they've been wanting to invest in projects".

More investments could mean more jobs. Joachim said "I think what it does is says this investment is going to be followed by additional job creation, which is going to fuel additional sales, and I think it's going to look brighter for our economy".

The Harrison County Development Commission also reports retail sales along the three coastal counties increased 2% over last year. Gaming revenues also went up 2%.