Biloxi adds more buildings to blighted property list - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Biloxi adds more buildings to blighted property list

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BILOXI, MS (WLOX) -

The historic White House Hotel on the corner of Highway 90 and White Avenue has been in a dilapidated state for several years. Biloxi Community Development Director Jerry Creel has added the White House to the city's list of blighted buildings in an effort to get the property owner to repair or sell it, or risk the city taking action.

Even though a law passed by the Mississippi Senate gives Biloxi the ability to order property owners to respond applies to buildings damaged by Katrina, Creel believes they have found a way to put the White House Hotel on the list.

"Certainly it was damaged by Katrina and it's not suitable for occupancy, so it is eligible under the Senate boil," Creel said.

Creel said the building is structurally sound and Biloxi appreciates its historic value.

"It needs a lot of cosmetic work and a lot of improvements to the outside. It's not to a level where it has to be torn down. With a historic structure, we would only do that as a last resort."

Meanwhile, there's not much the city can do about one of the most prolific blighted areas on Highway 90. They say, since construction on the abandoned Margaritaville casino project on Highway 90 began after Katrina, the city can't order Harrah's to remove it. But, Harrah's purchased the old Casino Magic hotel to be included in the Margaritaville footprint, so Biloxi is being proactive and adding it to the blighted property list.

"It finally dawned on me that even though this part did not qualify, the Casino Magic hotel did qualify. I notified the mayor that it was one that needed to be added, so we're going to add it."

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