Biloxi federal courthouse could soon be transformed

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - The Biloxi federal courthouse could soon be transformed into something entirely different. Biloxi community development Director Jerry Creel is looking over the plans.

"The first two floors would be commercial, some type of mixed used office and retail, and the upper three floors that will be added to the structure will be residential," Creel explained.

It would look very nice if everything falls into place. The Ole Biloxi Fillin' Station sits right across the street. More people in downtown would mean more hungry mouths to feed for manager Jonathan Jones.

"It would be wonderful. Obviously business brings business. The more people that it would bring to the downtown area, the more business that would generate for us and the other local businesses," Jones said.

The change from vacant to full would be welcome for Dena Ellzey of Ellzey's Hardware Store.

"We do have people from out of town who ask us about that building, and we had a lot of questions before they painted it and made it look better but I think it really help all the downtown businesses," Ellzey said.

Certainly city officials are excited about the chances of this property being refurbished and reborn in a better light downtown. Even more excited though are the downtown Biloxi business owners who have been looking at a vacant building for a very long time.

One of them is Harry Shoemake.

"I think it's great. I think the downtown could use it. Downtown Biloxi really needs a lot more businesses and social and regular businesses, and I think it will be good for downtown," Showmake said.

After so many years, what's different now? Creel has a theory.

"The economy continues to go in the right direction. We've seen a lot of developments that have been able get financing now that couldn't get financing a year ago," said Creel.

That could be the key that unlocks a brighter future for downtown.

The owner and developers are scheduled to go before the Biloxi Development Review Committee Wednesday morning, weather permitting, to unveil their plans. Of course, we'll keep you updated on this project both through WLOX News and on

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