PASS CHRISTIAN, MS (WLOX) - Thomas Genin is on an aggressive schedule. Pass Christian's first hotel in 90 years could be standing as early as late May.
The small slab in downtown Pass Christian is a strong foundation for long-time restaurant owner, and the potential of the project was enough to get him involved for the first time as a hotel owner.
"I was born and raised in Pass Christian," Genin said. "I had a restaurant here before Katrina. I feed people on the Mississippi Gulf Coast every day. And if I've heard one time what the Pass needs, I've heard it a thousand, and that's cool places for people to stay."
Genin has owned and built many restaurants - he's the former owner of Shaggy's, and is current owner of The Blind Tiger in Bay St. Louis. He calls this boutique hotel on Davis Avenue his lucky No. 10.
Along with business partner and builder Travis March, the duo are building a 7,500 square foot, two-story restaurant, bar and 11-room hotel on just a few slabs north of Hancock Bank.
The working title for now: Whiskey Hotel.
When the coastal causal style hotel opens, Genin says rates will be about $100 a night during the week and about $150 for weekends. The idea for the hotel came from his travels.
"I'm not a big fan of staying in large places," Genin said. "So when I go out of town and when my friends and I go out of town, we always try to find the cool little off-the-beaten-path kind of places, and Pass Christian's always kind of had that charm."
Genin's target market are those who used to have camps and weekend homes in Pass Christian before Hurricane Katrina destroyed them; the weekend regional traveler and Coast residents who just want a quick getaway.
It's already getting positive reviews from residents and business owners.
"I am just so happy to see the growth that's going on down here and the resurgence of coming back finally and looking proud and good again here in downtown Pass Christian," said resident Lauren Cross. "And I can't imagine that it would not be a good thing for our community."
Joyce Huang is the owner of Asian Paradise, a restaurant across the street from the site.
"Of course it will bring a lot of people come here and shop here and eat here," Huang said. "It's really good for our business. It's really good for all the business owners here."