Point Cadet Property Prices Soar

Point Cadet is the heart of Biloxi and home to generations of immigrant families. For years, it's been the center of the seafood industry.

But Katrina destroyed much of that East Biloxi neighborhood. The storm left only rubble where dozens of picturesque homes once stood.

The future of the neighborhood remains uncertain. Casino buyers and land speculators are driving up the price of available property. Some owners have already sold out and others are considering offers.

J. Rush saw Point Cadet destroyed while being tossed about in his neighbor's boat.

"We rode it out for six hours in there. And then we swam to the Palace that night and stayed in there," he said.

The barren neighborhood left in Katrina's wake isn't the same place that convinced Rush to buy a home on Myrtle Street three years ago.

"I just wanted to live on the Point. I've always wanted to live on the Point. I grew up in Ocean Springs."

He bought a small home with a bit of Biloxi history. Judge Semski was born in the living room. But, like so much on the Point, it's all gone.

"We lost everything there was to lose," he said.

Point property is now being eyed by coast casinos and developers. Owners are considering offers. Rush's land was part of a parcel sold to Golden Nugget before Katrina.

"Come to find out, after the storm, this contract was still valid. So, we ended up selling," he explained. "The only interest probably is casinos. And some speculators. But they can't touch the money the casinos have."

Many residents of the Point say the property prospecting by casinos and others extends all the way westward to Oak Street. Vica Dees' house was on Pine Street, and while she'd love to rebuild, she's keeping her options open.

"We hadn't been approached yet. We're thinking about it, if the price is right. It's really hard to say, cause we grew up here. It's part of our past," she said.

"We would like to stay down here, but with the development, we don't know what to do," said Dees.

There is much still undecided. Building codes and elevations will play a part. But some neighbors have a pretty good idea what's on the horizon.

"Condominiums and parking lots. Condos and parking lots," said Rush.

Point Cadet neighbors who sold to Golden Nugget got $48 a square foot or about $11 million for six acres. Several properties remain for sale and there's no shortage of speculators and interested developers.