Demolition begins on downtown Biloxi landmark - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Demolition begins on downtown Biloxi landmark

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BILOXI, MS (WLOX) -

Another prominent Katrina eyesore is coming down. On Monday, demolition started on the old Hancock Bank building in downtown Biloxi.

The building is one of 60 structures on the city's blighted properties list.  After more than six years, bank officials agreed it's time to tear it down.

"It's probably one of the biggest, how you want to say, eyesores that Katrina left us here on Highway 90 in Biloxi, MS," said Restaurant Owner Bobby Mahoney. "Thanks to the Hancock Bank and the city of Biloxi, we won't have to look at it anymore."

Mahoney's restaurant, Mary Mahoney's Old French House, sits behind the bank. He remembers catering parties there.

The landmark was built in 1975 as the Metropolitan Bank. Hancock Bank acquired it in1990.  The bank invested quite a bit of money renovating the structure, a year before Katrina ravaged the building.

"I figured they'd fix it up before it would come down and I was wrong," said Mahoney.

Biloxi's Community Development Director Jerry Creel said city inspectors walked through the building and determined that it could be repaired. However, it was Hancock Bank leaders who decided to demolish the building instead.

"It was really the best option to go ahead and tear the building down and we're going to maintain a green space there," said Shane Loper, Hancock Bank's Chief Risk & Administrative Officer. "We would like to sell the property. When an offer comes along that makes sense, we'd be happy to entertain that."

Bobby Mahoney is looking forward to the day when all the debris is gone.

"You'd probably be able to see me a little bit better," Mahoney said with a laugh. "More visibility from Highway 90, better off you are."

The demolition should take about two weeks. About 95 percent of the materials salvaged from the site will be recycled, including the concrete, wood, and metals.

Copyright 2012 WLOX. All rights reserved.

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