Commercial Beachfront Property A Hot Commodity

Realtors predict empty lots will give way to condos and other commercial developments that will dot Harrison County's beachfront.

"You'd have to have your head in the sand not to think that, but I believe you're going to have a lot more condos. I know a lot of people are opposed to that, but I foresee that happening," says realtor Bob Usey.

So does realtor Arlene Wall. She expects condos to go up on the ten acres she just listed near Edgewater Mall.

"I haven't heard of anyone backing out of projects. It seems to me that anybody that was under contract went ahead and closed or they're moving forward. So there's not backward movement," Wall says.

Residential lots aren't so plentiful. Realtor Kelly Moses says those people who are giving up their waterfront view find it to be an emotional decision.

"I think they've had to fight with their insurance companies and struggle with what they're going to do," she says.

Along with higher insurance, price is also a consideration. Half acre residential lots start around $325,000. Commercial ranges from $1 million an acre to $2.5 million. Still, Moses says, commercial for sale signs don't stay up long.

"Right now we've had a lot of people just speculating... because they're not sure of the zoning and they're buying anything they can get hold of and this place is about to boom. We're the last frontier and our slate's been cleaned. There's too much commercial action going on for us not to come back."

Realtor Sherry Owen says with higher insurance, more and more people won't be able to rebuild on the beach. She says many of the residential properties will be sold for commercial ventures.

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