Beach Front Property Up For Grabs - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Beach Front Property Up For Grabs

Home sweet home right now for Lee and Chi Chi Bryant is a FEMA trailer at 508 Beach Boulevard in Gulfport. The trailer sits where their 3,000 square foot home used to be before the hurricane. But this pad is short term.

"I plan to rebuild," says Lee Bryant.

Neither Hurricane Katrina nor another storm will scare Bryant away from his front deck view of the Mississippi Sound.

"I'll come back again. I was here during Camille, I'm here during Katrina and I'll be here when the next one gets here hopefully. Lord willing," he says.

But apparently not everyone feels that way. One realtor tells us right now two out of three beach front property owners are hanging up the For Sale sign.

"That mindset will change in time because time heals all things, but at this time the emotional part... most of the people who are talking to us are not thinking rebuilding, they're thinking of selling," Realtor Ray Gonzales says.

Like the owners of the property Gonzales has listed at Hewes Avenue and Highway 90.

"This was an $850,000 home prior to Katrina. Now the lot is a little over half an acre, $450,000. You're seeing' people who... have settlements with their insurance starting to think of just getting out."

Not so when it comes to commercial property.

"The developers coming in from Florida or St. Louis or wherever they're from, they still have the [same] attitude. They think there's more opportunity now," says realtor Cliff Thomas.

Thomas says Courthouse Road east to Cowan is already zoned commercial, and he sees a post-Katrina building boom.

"High rise. I'd say 16 stories, 1,200-1,400 square foot condos, not apartments, and some retail, some of them mix in retail. So I think you'll see everything will be new."

Gonzales says he also foresees big changes in home building on the beach as people must meet the new flood zone requirements. Gonzales says the homes will be elevated and built with more storm resistant materials like concrete and steel.

byMarcia Hill

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