Exclusive Subdivision Holds Open House In St. Martin

"To the south, the homeowners will have Old Fort Bayou, which is a deep body of water that goes out into the gulf, and to the north is the Mississippi Sandhill Crane Refuge, which will remain natural woodlands for eternity."

That's how Monte Luffey, developer of The Sanctuary, described the new subdivision.  It's Luffey's largest project thus far, and he's thrilled because he says The Sanctuary offers something other new developments on the coast do not.

"You see a lot of areas that come in and they take all the trees out and then start building the homes and I think that's a shame because the trees are what makes a community really nice," he said.

Ocean Springs resident Michelle Erickson says that's part of what drew her to this budding neighborhood.

"It's really nice," she said. "It's got a lot of really pretty trees an the atmosphere is really nice and that's what I'm looking for."

But the realtor admits the recent slowdown in the economy could make selling lots at The Sanctuary a little tougher. Still, she's not too concerned.

"It's very hard nowadays to find waterfront property and when you do, you find very small lots," Nancy Bourgeois said. "These lots are an acre or more, so people just fall in love with it when they come out here."

Bourgeois is encouraged that the Federal Reserve has lowered interest rates several times this year, and believes that will help her sales here. But with lots on the water going for as much as $210,000, she understands the number of potential buyers is limited.

"Not everybody can afford that, but I think it's something that there is a really good market here still on the coast who can afford that and who wants the water and wants the quietness and the peacefulness," Bourgeois said.

She says people from Dallas and Atlanta have expressed interest in the lots. There are 36 lots in phase one. Four other phases are also planned for the development.