Biloxi getting aggressive with eyesores

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - The city of Biloxi has sent letters to the owners of two blighted properties, demanding action.

The city is giving the owners of the abandoned Margaritaville site and the Santa Maria del Mar apartments until the first of November to submit action plans.

Construction on the Magaritaville Casino site across from the Grand on Highway 90 in Biloxi was halted in 2008.

The unfinished structure sits on valuable property in East Biloxi and the city is demanding to know what Caesars Entertainment plans to do with the site.

"First and foremost, we'd like to see it developed. We'd like to see it finished. We've been told that there's no interest. The secondary resolution we'd like to see is to have it demolished," said Biloxi Community Development Director Jerry Creel.

According to Creel, the city is using a building code provision designed to address property under construction that has not shown progress in more than two years.

"It's listed under the demolition section of the international property maintenance code," said Creel.

Creel says the unsightly concrete and steel shell discourages additional development in the area. He also says officials with Caesars have shown a sincere intent to do something, and do it soon.

Meanwhile, to the west sits the Santa Maria del Mar apartments ravaged by Katrina eight years ago.

The building is owned by the Catholic Diocese and. They also received a letter from the city with that same deadline.

"It's clearly in violation of the code enforcement ordinance that says a structure has to be habitable. It's unsafe and unsanitary. That's how we worded it in the notice we sent to the diocese," Creel said.

Greg Crapo with Catholic Charities Housing told WLOX News that there has been some interest in the building, but no serious offers.

He also said demolition would be cost prohibitive for the Diocese, but they are working on plans to meet Biloxi's demands.

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