GAUTIER, MS (WLOX) - Work to tear down the old Singing River Mall in Gautier is expected to be finished within the next two months. Gautier officials said demolition crews are working around the clock to keep the project on schedule in order to make way for a new multimillion dollar mega mall.
With one swift hit, a huge section of the old Singing River Mall came falling down on Sunday. Gautier Mayor Gordon Gollott and Councilwoman at large Mary Martin had a front row seat to all the action.
"This is the part I would come in and do all my shopping, and I am glad to see this torn down," Martin said.
"To see it being changed, it makes you feel good in your heart to see something happening in this city," Gollott said.
Gollott said demolition began back in February. While Belk will remain on site, most of the retail space around it is being knocked down. The mall site is on schedule to be cleared by September.
"Demolition is on schedule. A lot of the people think it is going slow, but you have to remember Belk is still open, and they have to section it off," Gollott said.
If the project continues to move at this steady pace, a new Walmart is expected to take shape at the start of next year. Soon after, a $90 million open air mall will go up with 50 or more stores.
"Between the construction of Walmart in January and opening in September, you will hear announcements of other retail outlets that are a going to come in here. It will just start mushrooming from there," said Gollott.
As city officials continue to monitor the progress of the project, they admit this multimillion dollar mall makeover is just what Gautier needs to improve the quality of life and economy.
"When we had a mall before people would come from Florida, Louisiana all up north. They would come to shop here. All of our sister cities will come here to shop, and people will come here to shop. I am really excited about it," said Martin.
City officials said Walmart should be open by September 2015 and the mall the following year.