GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Almost 11 years after Hurricane Katrina ravaged the coast, more and more people are choosing to build and live near the beach once again; a trend coast leaders hope will continue.
The latest example can be found along Hwy. 90 in Gulfport, just east of the Long Beach city limits, where Sapphire Homes is building six, single-family homes.
According to Jason Garner, building along the beach comes with conditions, such as being able to withstand storm surges and hurricane force winds.
"The product that we're trying to provide is a home, a fortified home, that provides you with a lifetime of affordable insurance," said Garner. "That's why I think building is coming back along the beach."
The homes are also being built at an elevation of at least 21-feet, resulting in lower insurance rates.
Additionally, the neighborhood is also being built with the environment in mind - protecting one of the Coast's most treasured assets, Live Oaks.
"Everybody loves oak trees and so do we," Price said. "So, we try to preserve and save them the best we can. Obviously some have to go when we build houses, but for the most part, we save as many as we can."
Of the six homes under construction, two have already been pre-sold. Gulfport Mayor Billy Hewes says it's another indication that the Coast is starting to return to normal.
"The tax rolls are going to be improved. These are not small scale houses and so it is good for us financially, as well as just from an appearance standpoint," added Hewes.
But perhaps more important, Garner says the homes send a message about the decade long aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
"I think overall, we're resilient. We're building back, we're moving on," said Garner. "It's behind us, I think."
Sapphire Homes will build the 2017 St. Jude Dream home in 2017, which will be located just north of the new beachfront homes.