GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - It was once an elegant hotel in a thriving downtown Gulfport. But nowadays the Markham Building is a rundown eyesore in a re-developed downtown.
It is arguably the most prominent eyesore in the City of Gulfport. Now that development plans have been announced for the old Grand Casino hotel on the beach, could the Markham Building be next?
It fills a prominent place in the downtown Gulfport skyline. But a closer look reveals the ugly: Broken glass, rusting stairwells and a general state of disrepair.
Still, the structure itself seems solid and a potential developer has expressed interest.
"I have talked to someone who is close to the owners of this facility. And there is an offer in the making. And hopefully, it will be forthcoming very soon," said Gulfport city council president, Ricky Dombrowski.
Just down the block from the dilapidated Markham Building, visitors find artistic beauty. The Gulfport Galleria of Fine Art is in the shadow of the historic building.
"Very sad to see it kind of desolate and ignored really. And that building is just amazing. And it does have a lot of potential," said Lindsay Chacon.
She is among the artists who display their works in the gallery. There's even an artistic photograph of the Markham Building, showing the kind of potential Lindsay Chacon envisions.
"A historic building being refurbished and revamped and maybe preserved," she said.
The future of the landmark building has also been tied up in court for the past two years.
The owner of the Markham Building filed an appeal of the city's finding that the building needed to be demolished because of its poor condition. The owner also appealed the city's decision to create a downtown development district which includes the Markham Building. And there's no pending court date for either one of those appeals.
Ricky Dombrowski prefers development over demolition. And though he doesn't know what this potential developer is planning, he's hopeful.
"I certainly would love to see something done with it, along with the library and a couple other buildings in downtown Gulfport that don't have tenants," he said.