Excitement, skepticism over downtown Gulfport development plans

Excitement, skepticism over downtown Gulfport development plans

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Reaction to the latest economic development news in downtown Gulfport ranges from cautious excitement to healthy skepticism.

People downtown are talking about Robert Lubin and his plan to build a casino project at the harbor and renovate the long vacant Markham Hotel building.

"The Markham project would be great for bringing more foot traffic downtown," said Port City Cafe owner Earnest Ulrich. "Especially on the weekends."

Lubin's plan calls for mixed residential and office space at the Markham.

"It would be a wonderful development if it happens," said Gulfport author and historian Tom Simmons.

But he quickly added there have been other announced projects over the years that failed to materialize. Others who preferred not to go on camera, questioned whether the proposed project is really such a good deal.

"Downtown parking is the biggest issue," said one woman.

She said the city needs to address that concern before moving forward with so many projects downtown.

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