Couple Helps Promote Downtown Gulfport

Those who promote downtown Gulfport say it's not enough that hundreds of people work there. They've long talked about the need for people to live downtown.

Larger cities with thriving downtowns all have some residential component. That's something that has been missing in downtown Gulfport.

But that may be changing.

Sherry Trullender and Jerry Halderman found home sweet home in the heart of downtown Gulfport. They bought an old office building and turned it into an attractive apartment.

"We looked. She did all this, this could be the kitchen bit, and we bought. And we've been happy ever since," said Jerry.

"At the time we did this, there was a big push for revitalization. We thought, well, we'll revitalize you know. So we did," said Sherry.

They now enjoy some five thousand square feet of living space. A building that once housed a mortgage center, lawyers office and lounge is now home.  And these home owners predict others will follow them downtown.

"If they know how nice it is the way we do, they're going to want to come," Jerry explained.

"I see it as a trend in most cities. Larger cities already have that, but it's drifting this way and I feel like the trend will catch on," Sherry said.

Just down the street, developer Larry Mitrenga has high hopes for another historic building.

"We first saw the building in 1998. And it was such an unusual architectural style, that it intrigued us," he said, as he walked through the ground floor of the vacant Kramer building.

Mitrenga and his partner helped breath new life into the historic structure.

A renewed exterior brings this structure to its former glory. Built in 1902, it's the second oldest building downtown.

"The exterior and the interior just has such a New Orleans flavor about it," said Mitrenga.

He says the building would be perfect for a "House of Blues". But a group of Memphis investors is interested in condos instead.

"They'd like us to convert it into condos for them. They would stay here during their time on the coast. And possibly lease them to attorneys and whoever has business downtown at the new federal courthouse and all," said Mitrenga.

The Gulfport Downtown Association will recognize ten merchants and property owners for outstanding efforts in revitalizing historic buildings and promoting downtown development.