PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - Today the riverfront in Pascagoula has a lot of empty space. In the future it could look much different.
A development firm has been chosen by the city to begin preliminary work on the ambitious project.
City leaders, like councilman Frank Corder, know what they want to see.
"It's a catalyst for our future development. I'm looking for some retail shops, some dining options, some dock space, some office space, even some living space," Corder said.
One of the key ingredients of this development has already been built. It's the parking garage on the waterfront. Another factor will be getting a major industry to sign on, as well as, a tenant like Ingalls, according to Corder.
"If the developer that we're talking to is able to secure the Ingalls relationship with this office space with 700 or so office spaces down on riverfront, that anchor will be tremendously important to drive business to our downtown area," Corder explained.
Business owners at nearby Anchor Square hope that happens. One of them is Tanya Taylor.
"I think it would mean tremendous sales. I think it would bring a lot of people down to this area and expose Anchor Square a lot more than what we are now," Taylor said.
Candy Ruffin agreed.
"It would mean better business for the area and all of the new businesses that have come into play here at Anchor Square," Ruffin said.
At Paradise Deli, owner Vinnie Keim hopes the riverfront development will stir up some new business for him, and others in the downtown area.
"I believe that the more people that are attracted to this area will attract new businesses in the area and the more businesses down here will attract more customers and on, and on," Keim said.
If all the pieces fall into place, contracts could be signed and construction could begin by the end of the year.