GAUTIER, MS (WLOX) - What was once a dilapidated, Katrina damaged eyesore in Gautier is getting a complete makeover. Two years ago, Westgate Plaza Shopping Center looked terrible. Today, it's ready for retailers.
For businesses located across Highway 90, where workers had to endure looking at an eyesore for years, the new look is a major improvement. Ron Brewer is one of them.
"It looks a lot better," Brewer said. "It was dilapidated before, but it looks great now. They're doing a great job of trying to get it back together."
For business owners about to move in, it's even better. Marc Wyatt is about to open an ice cream shop at Westgate Plaza. For him, location is everything.
"I hope it's a great one here, right against Highway 90," Wyatt said. "I hope to grab a lot of Ingalls traffic going home. I've got all the coffee and ice creams that should satisfy their sweet tooth."
For city officials in Gautier, the transformation of this strip mall into something that's becoming a business magnet is indeed a huge step after so many years of sitting dormant.
Mayor Gordon Gollott said, "39,000 cars daily pass by this place. And everyone that comes by, they've made comments, the majority of them saying, 'When are you going to do something of what you have here?' And now you see what's happened. It's become one of the biggest improvements in the city of Gautier."
Getting to this point was not easy. Jim Flynt is the project developer.
"We've been working on it for quite awhile," Flynt said. "We had some money problems trying to get enough money to get it done. We've finally got all that straightened out and now we're well on the way to getting it completely finished."
Two businesses are already up and running at the complex. Others, including a restaurant and a seafood market, will open shortly. When Westgate Plaza is completed, it will represent an investment of about half a million dollars.