GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - A Louisiana developer with a billion dollar project portfolio is the new lead developer for Gulfport's Centennial Plaza. Stewart Juneau told the Gulfport city council Tuesday, the old VA site is a "jewel" on the Mississippi Gulf Coast that is ready for development.
The council voted unanimously on a new lease agreement that puts his company in charge of the project.
You'll recall that Gulfport initially hired New York-based Glastonbury Capital to develop Centennial Plaza. Stewart Juneau's company, le Triomphe, will now take over that lead role in pursuing the project. And he is certainly excited about the possibilities.
"It is one of the most incredible sites I have ever seen in my development career," the longtime developer told city council members.
Juneau is most impressed with the potential for Centennial Plaza. He envisions a festival marketplace that will attract people and spur more economic development.
"I think it's going to create an opportunity for all along the beach. Between the downtown, the yacht club and Centennial Plaza, and beyond, to achieve its real potential. What I see for this particular development, Centennial Plaza, is the eastern most anchor for the city of Gulfport," he explained.
Gulfport has heard such enthusiasm before. Glastonbury was also excited by the possibilities.
"Waited for some time to get this far. We can't afford to continue to remain stagnant on the development of this," cautioned Councilman R. Lee Flowers.
Councilman Flowers also questioned whether the new agreement puts the city in a better position.
The mayor says yes.
"Actually the city, with this agreement, with this ratification, would be in a better position than we were in the deal that was struck with Glastonbury," said Mayor Billy Hewes.
"Going forward with this new plan, Gulfport has a much better deal with the Juneaus. And the Juneaus are already ten steps ahead of where we were in the last ten years," said Council Member Myles Sharp.
"We're ready as a community to see something happen. I promise you, they're going to hear from us and you and the community if something doesn't happen quick," said Mayor Hewes.
"Wherever you need us to be to help make this an incredible development that I know it's going to be. So, thank you all for the opportunity," said Juneau.
Among Stewart Juneau's projects was the Ritz Carlton development in downtown New Orleans, where he successfully marketed and developed the historic Maison Blanche building on Canal Street.