Commercial Development Coming To Veterans Avenue

The Biloxi city councilman who represents the area says the development boom that came with the casinos seemed to pass over Veteran's Avenue.

Charles Harrison says there's been very little economic development along Veterans.

But that is slowly changing.

Old buildings are being torn down and new businesses are on the way.

Some say the development trend started at the corner of Veterans and Highway 90.

Brooks Holstein is developing a commercial center on Veterans just south of the railroad tracks.

"I think probably the biggest plus to kick off the redevelopment of Veterans was the gift store down at the beach, on the old Gus Stevens property," said Holstein.

Surf Style is certainly the most visible new edition to Veteran's Avenue. At the spot where Elvis used to hang out, tourists now shop for the latest beach wear and souvenirs.

The store manager blames the sluggish economy for a slow summer season this first year.

He welcomes talk of new development on Veterans.

"I think that any new business in town is good for everybody, for those that are close to them and for everybody else. It's better for Biloxi to have more businesses to attract more tourism into the city. And to have more variety for the people that live here," said Johnny Selner.

Changes north of the railroad tracks on Veterans include the demolition of an old motel. Two neighboring buildings that once housed bars will also be coming down soon.

It's part of an 18 acre commercial venture that developer Scott Delano says is close to becoming reality.

On the east side of Veterans, also north of the tracks, this land is for sale and owner Ronnie Blackledge expects some future development.

Just south of the tracks, a commercial center is ready for tenants.

"What we're trying to do ideally here is to attract service businesses, delivery system businesses to Veterans Boulevard. We think it's ideally located to serve not only Keesler, but the City of Biloxi and the casino industry," said Brooks Holstein.

Holstein says he expects development along Veterans will improve, in part because of the shrinking amount of commercial property now available along Highway 90.