GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Rotate Black owes Gulfport $375,000 in back rent. Consequently, the city has cut ties with the casino developer. On Monday, Gulfport will find out whether a new developer wants to turn land adjacent to Jones Park into an economic engine for the city.
That three acre parcel was once going to be part of the Hemingway Resort and Casino project. But, the developers of that project no longer have a lease with Gulfport to build on that land. In fact, that lease was canceled in October of 2014.
The back rent was a topic of conversation at Tuesday's Gulfport City Council meeting.
'"They do owe money," Councilman Ricky Dombrowski said. "And at the last council meeting, we expressed our concerns."
Members of the Gulfport Redevelopment Commission said they terminated the lease because of all the money the casino group owed. Carole Lynn Meadows heads up that commission.
"We like the concept very much of the Hemingway brand," Meadows said. "It was going to be a fabulous casino for the harbor."
When Rotate Black, the owner of the Hemingway project, stopped paying rent, the GRC terminated the lease. In recent weeks, the GRC decided to market that three acre parcel again.
"For any other individuals that might be out there to get revenue for the city," Meadows said.
Those requests for proposals are due on Monday, Sept. 28, at 5 p.m. At that time, Gulfport will know whether city land at the foot of Highway 90 has any interest.
If it does, the GRC will look at whether it's the right project for the city. If no bids are submitted, "I guess we go back to the drawing board and see what is the next best use for the property," Meadows said.