GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - The planned development of Centennial Plaza in Gulfport, took a big step forward on Thursday. The developers of a Holiday Inn Resort at that site delivered construction plans to the city that may "jump start" a much larger plan for the old V-A property.
The banner promising an anchor hotel resort "coming soon" at Centennial Plaza has been there for many months. But now, a significant step forward is being made.
"You know, we've been hearing a lot of talk, but it's good to see movement. We still want to see things come out of the ground, but the Holiday Inn development looks like it's moving forward in a big way, so we hope to see some activity very soon," said Mayor Billy Hewes.
The Holiday Inn resort carries a $17.5 million price tag, and will be located on the west end of the old VA site.
The Juneau family from Louisiana is the lead developer of the project.
"This is a very big step. You know, this is the first step that they have to take in starting to become vertical out of the ground, and remodeling of the buildings there," said urban development director, Greg Pietrangelo.
Plans to develop Centennial Plaza have faced several hurdles in recent years, including concerns that impacted financing the projects.
"Last year we talked about one of the delays being the historic tax credits legislation, and that was passed. So it's good to see not only that, but you've got some more investment monies in the project, which has led to this reality today that we're finally have some certainty that that project is going to become real," said Mayor Hewes.
The Holiday Inn resort has long been the cornerstone project of Centennial Plaza development. The mayor says with it moving forward, he expects more development news to follow.
"And a lot of folks have told the developers, if you get the first one going, call us, we're ready. And that goes from other hotel chains to restauranteurs. So, there's a lot of possibility," Hewes said.
Future development may include retail, office space and a residential component.