GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - It's been five-years since the plans were first announced to turn Centennial Plaza into a beach front resort.
The 'Coming soon' sign is still up, and it's a promise developer Neil Juneau is sticking to.
"The most exciting thing right now is we're about to break ground on the Holiday Day Inn resort," Juneau said.
The first phase of the plan calls for the buildings on the west side of the property to be turned into a hotel. Juneau, who works with Le Triomphe Property Group, says it's taken this long to get off the ground because of a complicated finance structure.
"We're working on the different tax credits that's associated with the development, and blending those in with financing and outside equity to make the whole deal actually economical," Juneau said.
On Friday, Juneau gave members of the Mississippi Historical Society a rundown of his plans for the property. Part of his plans includes keeping the existing buildings in place.
"As something we can do with our historical buildings to put them back into commerce and be a thriving enterprise for the local communities," Juneau said.
Centennial Plaza will be flooded with people on March 31 and April 1 for Mississippi's Bicentennial Celebration. Juneau says groundbreaking for his development will occur not long afterward.
"We're hoping to be able to do something by April 30 of this year," Juneau said.
Construction should take about one year before the hotel can open. Along with the hotel, future planned development for the plaza includes retail, office space and residential living area.