Centennial Plaza still without anchor tenant

Centennial Plaza still without anchor tenant

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Centennial Plaza is bustling with people checking out the vintage rides, but it's hard to ignore the abandoned buildings scattered along the property.

More than a year ago, Gulfport city leaders made an announcement that Holiday Inn Resort would be the anchor tenant of Centennial Plaza. While a coming soon sign still hangs on the chain link fence, many are wondering just how soon it will be.

"This reminds me so much of LSU with the architecture and everything and I wanted to see in the windows what was in there," said Tracy Bruno-Ngchee. "I was thinking why don't they make this into something. It's beautiful."

Turning the area into something beautiful is the plan, but Gulfport Mayor Billy Hewes says it has been put on hold. 

"There's still reason to be more than just hopeful, but be excited about it, but you know nobody likes delays. They don't like having these delays either," said Mayor Hews. 

According the mayor, developers were depending on being reimbursed with money from the state called, historic tax credits, but the credits weren't extended to the Gulfport project during the most recent legislative session.

"We were hoping there would be a special session called for the purpose of extending the cap off of historic tax credits. Since that was not done, we will have until what looks like the next legislative session," the mayor added. 

Mayor Hewes says the developers of the property can't move forward until they are sure the tax incentives are in place, and hopes to have an answer by spring of 2016.

Meanwhile, those in town for Cruisin' say they're excited to hear about the growth, but they also hope it won't interfere with their favorite event.

"I love it, I think it's a good idea. It's a beautiful piece of property. I would love to see them do something with it. You know, I hope we can continue to use this for cruise central," said Chris Calhoun.

Mayor Hewes added that the Centennial Plaza project and the new aquarium are two long term economic development projects of the city.

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