Gulfport hopes website helps fill empty stores with businesses

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - It's a new approach that could help replace Gulfport's empty store fronts with commercial development. City officials are working with a company called GIS Planning to launch a customized on line service that will market Gulfport properties to potential investors all over the world.

Although Gulfport still has plenty of for sale and for lease signs, realtors said the commercial real estate market has picked up dramatically over the past year.

"The commercial real estate market is improving," said realtor Marvin Koury. "Spaces are being absorbed a little more this year than it was last year. Inquiries are up."

At a meeting at City Hall, realtors and brokers learned a new website to market Gulfport properties will be run like a one-stop-shop. Potential investors will be able to access basic information like the square footage and zoning, as well as information about the surrounding area, like utilities, proximity to ports and traffic counts.

"You first have to go to one site to find the properties that are available," said real estate agent Kenneth Jones. "Then go and do demographic research and rail access and stuff like that for industrial users. So having it all on one site does help a lot."

Gulfport Main Street Director Lisa Bradley said, "What we're hoping to do is just get on the radar of the people who will invest in our community. There's so many people out there that don't know what our city has to offer."

To be successful, the city is counting on realtors to upload available properties onto the site and keep the listings current.

"You only get as much out of it as you put into it. So it would be beneficial if everyone in the community would come on board," said Koury. "The more you have to offer people to look at, the more chances you have of landing that prospect."

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