Old Margaritaville site considered an eyesore

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - What was once a promising $700 million project now sits vacant and forlorn in east Biloxi. It doesn't sit well with visitors to the coast.

Dave Kubczak from Pennsylvania is visiting family on the coast, and can't help but notice the barren property on his morning jog.

"If I wasn't a visitor here every year, I would think maybe that was the remains of the damage done and the destruction done by Katrina a few years back," Kubczak said.  "It's certainly an eyesore, the weeds growing and the fencing up.  Just coming over that bridge and seeing that, it's really a negative."

City officials agree, and have been trying to work with Harrah's and Caesar's Entertainment on a plan to get the project moving again. Mayor A.J. Holloway said money is an issue.

"Harrah's is the biggest gaming company in the world, but they also have more debt than any gaming company in the world," Holloway said.

Visitors and locals may be wondering since the property looks this bad, why city officials can't do anything about it?  Well, the answer is very simple. The city's hands are tied. Technically there's nothing wrong.

"Just because something is ugly doesn't make it a code violation," Biloxi Community Development Director Jerry Creel said. "And from a law standpoint, we're limited to addressing code violations. The property is secure, the structure was not damaged by the storm, there's not a life safety issue there."

And that has left the mayor frustrated.

"I don't know what we can do to remedy the situation. It's just something that's there. We don't like it being there, but as you said, our hands are tied."

Officials with the Grand Casino and Caesar's Entertainment in Biloxi declined an on camera interview. A company spokesman in La Vegas did say the company is reviewing its options concerning the property.

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