GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - The hotel renovation project at Island View Casino Resort in Gulfport is moving along at a brisk pace.
The casino management thinks it will be a game changer on the coast. The $60 million investment and 400 new hotel rooms will go a long way towards changing the coast's casino scene.
The old Grand Casino hotel tower on Port of Gulfport property has been sitting empty since Hurricane Katrina. Island View bought the Grand Gulfport after the storm and has started a $60 million renovation of the southside hotel tower.
"In my opinion, this is going to be one of the finest hotels in the South. We'll have a spa and a lot of convention space. We're going to have an outstanding restaurant and a sports bar. We're also going to have an ocean club on the bottom floor with a swimming pool. There will be a lot of activity," said Island View Owner Rick Carter.
The inside of the structure has been totally gutted and construction crews are giving the interior an extreme makeover.
"All the rooms on the backside will be suites. We're extending the balconies with full glass that will be very unique," said Carter.
Considering the economy and flat casino revenue numbers Island View made this decision after serious deliberation.
"Anytime you spend $60 million, you get pretty nervous. We anticipated the economy coming back faster; We're not concerned," according to Carter.
By adding 400 hotel rooms to his property, Carter thinks it's critical that the casino industry continues to invest in the market.
"If you sit there and do nothing, someone will eat your lunch. We're trying to stay ahead of the game and keep things exciting," Carter said.
The project should be completed in early 2015.