New retail development planned for Biloxi beachfront

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - There are new plans for the old Gulf Beach Resort property in Biloxi. Owner Tommy Newman says the time is right to move forward with a retail development on that site.

The prime beachfront property was once home to a high rise hotel, a local lounge and a Waffle House restaurant. Hurricane Katrina ruined all of that.

"Nine years. It's time to do something with the property that's just sitting there," said Newman.

The land owner and developer envision a "French Market" style retail development on the now vacant ground. He reviewed those plans with Biloxi's development review committee Wednesday morning.

"Y'all remember the old Mardi Gras lounge that used to be in there?" asked designer Tom Henry.

"That's what Mr. Tommy is going to put back in there."

Phase one calls for building the Mardi Gras lounge nightclub, along with an adjacent pizza kitchen.

The plans also include a "French Market" style retail center with an outdoor courtyard.

Newman says he's encouraged by other recent development along Highway 90 in Biloxi, including a row of restaurants.

"That's very encouraging to see what's going down on the beach, east of us. People are starting to come back. So, it's time for us to try and come back," Newman said.

"You see it along the beach. You see people trying to do things on the western side of town, which has been needed for awhile," said Henry.

"If the economics work out, hopefully everything will keep moving forward and create a little entertainment area down there."

Newman is ready to make that happen.

"I'd like to see it pretty quick, but until we go through all the rules and all we have to go through in Biloxi, it might be a few months," said Newman.

After nearly nine years, a few months doesn't seem so bad.

The project needs to go before the planning commission, which must approve plans for the night club before construction can begin.

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