Economic growth building off Highway 49 in Gulfport

Economic growth building off Highway 49 in Gulfport
The site of Anchor Plaza in Gulfport. (Photo source: WLOX)
The site of Anchor Plaza in Gulfport. (Photo source: WLOX)

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - TGI Friday's in Gulfport celebrated a grand reopening Wednesday, and the city's economic development director says it is just a sign of what's in store for the second largest city in the state.

The Biloxi Bay Chamber of Commerce hosted a ribbon cutting ceremony for the TGI Friday's grand reopening party. The restaurant famous for their "In here, it's always Friday" slogan, has been a staple in Gulfport for 15 years.

"This restaurant was one of the first ones that we chose to reimage, because of the relationship that our folks have here with the community. It's been healthy. It's been good for a long time," said Mark Bacon, Director of Operations.

The restaurant is located in Crossroads Shopping Center, just feet from the Highway 49 and the Crossroads Parkway Intersection, where another large development is in the works.

"We've got the Anchor Plaza that's coming up across the street. We've got the investment that the city's making in doubling the size of the sportsplex to take advantage of all the sports tourists that are a huge industry for Gulfport," said David Parker

Parker, who is the economic development director for Gulfport, says the renovation and expansion of Friday's is another sign that business north on I-10 on Highway 49 is beginning to boom again.

"What we're seeing here is not just an investment, but a reinvestment in the area with the restaurant today that we're cutting the ribbon for. Across the street we're seeing a tremendous amount of investment," said Parker.

While business growth is always a positive, one downside is the already heavy traffic flow in this area. But Parker says that is not being left unattended.

"It seems like daily I'm talking to people about how to find funding for new roads, and how we can make it an easier ingress egress for all of the new people coming in," said Parker.

According to Parker, there is another hotel under construction in Anchor Plaza, as well as two restaurants under contract to be built. He is expecting the entire project to take anywhere from three to four years.

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