New resort rises from a Katrina eyesore - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

New resort rises from a Katrina eyesore

Set plans are in the works to build a 373-room hotel and a large water park. (Photo source: Cono Caranna) Set plans are in the works to build a 373-room hotel and a large water park. (Photo source: Cono Caranna)
The Biloxi Architectural and Historical Review Commission gave its approval today to a multimillion dollar transformation of the old Casino Magic property in East Biloxi. (Photo source: Conno) The Biloxi Architectural and Historical Review Commission gave its approval today to a multimillion dollar transformation of the old Casino Magic property in East Biloxi. (Photo source: Conno)
BILOXI, MS (WLOX) -

For the nearly 10 years since Hurricane Katrina roared ashore, the property has sat vacant and deteriorating. That is changing. Renovations are already underway, and Thursday, the commission voted unanimously to give the project the green light.

When it's done, developers promise something impressive, something that is unique. One of them is Cono Caranna, with Biloxi Lodging LLC.

“We're going to have 373 rooms. There will be an oversized water deck and water park that will extend from the actual hotel portion and going north towards 90. It will have a lounge pool with couches built into the sides so you can sit and relax against the rim of the entire pool,” Caranna said.

Commission members liked what they heard and saw. One is Sugar Stallings.

“It means more economic development and more money. This is a hospitality state. That's what we're known for. So, I would love to see more projects just like it being built and just bringing back our economy,” Stallings said.

Biloxi city leaders are just as bullish on the project, perhaps for different reasons. David Nichols is the Chief Administrative Officer.

“It will really bring in a lot of ad valorem revenue, sales tax and let's not forget about the jobs. They're talking about several hundred new jobs in the hospitality industry. We lost so many during Katrina,” Nichols exclaimed.

As long time residents of the Coast recall, prior to Katrina, this property operated as Casino Magic. So, the question begs to be asked, is there a possibility that a casino could relocate here in the future?

Caranna had an answer.

“It is a casino site. We have no plans on opening a casino. There is a section if one wanted to come in at one point and build one, but we have no plans of adding one.”

What they do plan on adding is a new level of luxury and optimism in an area of town that needs both.

Right now, the name of the resort has not been made public. Company officials hope to have the property up and running by spring of next year.

Then, they move on to renovations of the Katrina damaged Santa Maria Del Mar tower in downtown Biloxi.

By the way, this is the same company that bought and renovated the White House Hotel.

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