BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Work is now underway in downtown Biloxi to turn a Hurricane Katrina eyesore into a thing of beauty. The old Santa Maria Del Mar retirement home was shut down after the storm and has been vacant since.
A company called Barrington development purchased the 14-story property with plans to turn it into an upscale hotel. The building was gutted several months ago, and workers are now shoring up the interior before work will begin in earnest.
Cono Caranna, with Barrington Development, said it will become a 154-room, all suite hotel. The company is hoping to have it open by next summer.
The company will go before the Biloxi Architectural Review Commission later this month to get final approval.
Meanwhile, downtown business owners are ecstatic about the news. They say once it opens, the hotel will provide hundreds of potential customers within walking distance of their businesses. Those businesses include charter fishing, boat tours, restaurants, and even tourist attractions like the Biloxi shrimp tour.
By the way, Barrington Development is the same company that refurbished the old White House Hotel on Hwy. 90 and recently refurbished and reopened the old casino magic property in East Biloxi. That property is now called Margaritaville.
Doug Walker is taking a closer look at the story today. Watch for it tonight on WLOX News Now and on WLOX.com.