Italian-Inspired Condos Break Ground In Gulfport

Gone now is a 27-year coast staple - Wet Willy's Water Slide.

The demolition was a little hard for it's former owner to watch.

"It's kind of sad. You know this was a place that I grew up, when I graduated from high school and I have high school kids that have worked here. My own kids have worked here and they're really sad too," said former Wet Willy's owner Ricky Dombrowski.

But Dombrowski, along with a group of supporters gathered on the site, believes progress will be erected in its place, in the form of the Italian inspired Sienna on the Coast Condominiums.

Developers say the 12-story, 82 unit project will combine old world style architecture with modern comforts. And they say they couldn't find a better place for this blend than Gulfport.

"We are very excited about the Mississippi Gulf Coast. We first came down here about a year ago and started looking and seeing the transformation that is happening down here. It's just beautiful beaches, beautiful people. And the people have really been the main thing that has brought us to the coast, how nice and how receptive everyone has been," said Daniel Hathaway of Hathaway Development.

Gulfport Mayor Pro-Tem Kim Savant says this project was not only a good move for developers, but for the city as well.

"This means an increase in our tax base without a lot of impact on our infrastructure. It's just one of those cases where we think it's all positives. And these developers have worked with us as best they can with the neighborhoods to make sure there is very little impact on them. We're real excited about this," said Savant.

The Sienna is expected to be complete in the fall of 2006. The new condos will be near the foot of Highway 90 and Cowan Road.