BAY ST. LOUIS, MS (WLOX) - A well known landmark hotel in Bay St. Louis is returning to the Beach Front. A ground breaking ceremony was held Friday for the new Bay Town Inn.
The inn was destroyed during Hurricane Katrina and almost cost the owner and six others their lives. More than seven years later the inn is coming back.
City leaders said the significant re-investment now being made on the beach front is vital to down town re-development.
Bay St. Louis developers Nikki and John Moon said they are building back on the beach front bigger and better.
"We believe that the inn should be here. It belongs here. It belongs on this spot," said Nikki Moon.
The bed and breakfast style inn was built in 1897.
Moon said, "Probably about 9:30 in the morning a tidal surge came and knocked the whole first floor right from under us."
Moon and six others were saved by clinging to a tree for hours. They later had angels carved on that tree.
"We couldn't be happier because it represents just another piece of this puzzle of bringing the Bay St. Louis water front back to life," said Hancock Chamber Executive Director Tish Williams.
Bay St. Louis Mayor Les Fillingame, echoed her words, "This is a true economic boost to downtown Bay St. Louis."
The new Bay Town Inn complex features three buildings. A house for the owners. A pool and cabana and an inn with 12 luxury suites.
"The one thing that we don't offer yet in downtown Bay St. Louis is a place for visitors to stay overnight. We have some vacation rentals in the neighborhood, but we do not have any specific places for people to stay, that's such a need right now," said Fillingame.
The mayor said, the inn will allow tourists to spend more time and money in the downtown area.
"Up to this point, it's been mostly day traffic," Fillingame said.
Moon said they can't wait to be back.
"We believe in this community and we believe it's the right place to be," Moon said.
Construction kicked off with the ground breaking. The inn is expected to be ready to open by mid- Summer of next year.