Biloxi approves 7-year tax break for new Hard Rock hotel

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - On Tuesday, the Biloxi City Council approved a seven year 100 percent tax break on a 12 story hotel that the Hard Rock wants to build. Hard Rock officials said the project is not a done deal, but this approval from the city helps.

Executives with the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino asked the Biloxi City Council for tax exemptions so it can build a second hotel tower. Officials said many times they have more people wanting to stay in their hotel than they have rooms.  So with more rooms, the Hard Rock can do more business.

"I think it's very important that we show that this market not only from a tourism standpoint but from a gaming standpoint is very viable," said General Manager Duncan McKenzie. "Viable enough that people want to invest in it. We certainly want to invest in it. We think these hotel rooms might generate other investments in the locale and in the market. We're happy to be in a position where we can invest in the market."

Hard Rock wants build a $32 million hotel tower with 154 rooms that will showcase the beauty of Biloxi.

"There's a lot more glass in the room so there's a lot more windows," McKenzie said. "Where this tower is positioned you'll really be able to have a great view of the Gulf Of Mexico and when you look the other way the Back Bay."

Biloxi city council agreed to a property tax break that Hard Rock officials said is about $100,000 a year for seven years. In return the Hard Rock expansion should give the city up to $400,000 more each year in gaming tax collections,  up to $44,000 a year in sales tax collections and 90 permanent jobs.

Council member George Lawrence said, "They get a little break in the taxes and we get that building that they've built here. More people come. More tourist come. Gaming. Everything adds to it so in the long run, it's going to add to the tax base tremendously."

The hotel would be located west of the Hard Rock pool. A walkway would connect the hotel to the casino floor.

According to the resolution submitted to Biloxi council members, it would "promote commercial and hospitality industry economic recovery and redevelopment.

To see the presentation brought before the Biloxi City Council click here.

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