Condo Project Expected To Provide Life To Historic Area - - The News for South Mississippi

Condo Project Expected To Provide Life To Historic Area

It's lunchtime in downtown Gulfport, and as one of the few restaurants which has returned to the area post-Katrina, Port City Cafe' workers are busy serving up the "feel good" food it is known for.

Business has been good in this eatery for the nearly five years it has been open, but owner Ernest Ulrich says it will be better if the talk of a condominium going up down the street proves to be true.

"We're really interested in starting to do some dinner business, and I think that would just really impact nighttime business down here and I think it is very exciting and would be very good for the downtown," said Ulrich.

For almost eight decades the Markham Building has been a chameleon of sorts, being made to fit any occasion from proms to business meetings.

Now, an outside investor is looking to make this building a home. Gulfport Main Street Association President John Harral sees it as an exciting opportunity to breathe life back into a historic area which Hurricane Katrina drastically altered.

"We recognized for many years that residents living in downtown is the essential element of revitalizing any downtown area, so we know that's very important," said Harral.

Harral sees the proposed condo as having a domino effect, saying it, in turn, will bring more retail and restaurant businesses along with offices to the area, while still maintaining its historic value.

And that would possibly put more people into the Port City Cafe.

"The downtown is coming to life and I think the condos are gonna do that much more to help it come back," said Ulrich.  

Harral says the city is ready for a project like this, He also says with so much development going on and incentives from Congress, in three years, expect to see a downtown Gulfport that will be the envy of the southeastern United States.

By Karla Redditte

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