GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - After years of marketing for a tenant the City of Gulfport finally announced the anchor tenant for the old VA property known as Centennial Plaza. Holiday Inn Resort will be the first major anchor tenant.
The announcement was made Tuesday shortly after the Gulfport City Council meeting at city hall. The developer calls the resort a world class development. WLOX News was at the steps of city hall as the announcement was made.
On the steps of Gulfport City Hall, Mayor Billy Hewes along with city council members, the Gulfport redevelopment commission and the developer of Centennial Plaza gathered to announce the new anchor tenant Holiday Inn Resort.
"I joked on my inaugural that if we don't have anything on the property given it was historic family property, I want my property back," Hewes told the crowd waiting to hear the announcement.
It's a project the mayor says he's wanted to tell the city about for a while.
"It's the result of a lot of work by a lot of people over a number of years," Hewes said.
The $30 million development will be located on the west side of the 57 plus acre Centennial Plaza site. Stewart Juneau is the Chairman of Le Triomphe property group, who is the managing partner of Centennial Plaza LLC., the developers for Centennial Plaza. Juneau says the city told him whatever went into this site needed to be targeted towards family activities.
"The mayor has made it an emphasis to make Centennial Plaza a tier one tourism destination that Gulfport has never seen before," said Juneau.
Juneau says this new resort is focused on the family. Two historic buildings on the site will be converted into rooms and a new arrival building will be added with amenities like a resort style river pool.
"With the river pool kids float around on the inner tubes all the way the way around. There's going to be a waterfall, a big stone waterfall. Beautiful bars, lots and lots of green space," Juneau said.
Juneau says the large beautiful oak trees on this property and scenic green spaces are hard to find for large developments. All the developer is waiting on now is approval of historic tax credits from the federal government. He says ground could be broken by this December. In addition to Holiday Inn Resort, Juneau also says he'd like to bring a 1,500 foot entertainment pier to Gulfport. He also expects to make even more announcements for Centennial Plaza for things like restaurants and retailers.