Jimmy Love is the vision behind the White House hotel's restoration. He described his renovation project to the Biloxi City Council by simply saying, "The White House to me makes a lot of sense."
Attorney Michael Cavanaugh added some details to that comment. "Jim Love's plan is to restore the White House to the beauty it once was," Cavanaugh said, "with a 112 room hotel and conference center."
To complete the renovations he started last year, Love told Biloxi councilmen he needed their help. Because it's in an historic building, and it's being turned into a family oriented hotel, the White House qualifies for financial assistance. Cavanaugh said, "We believe that the White House is a worthy project and recipient of this program."
The state came up with the Mississippi Tourism Incentive Program to save some of its history. Because of the incentive program, the state would be rebating up to $7 million in sales tax, over a 10 year period, to the White House. That money would help pay off part of the White House's estimated $23 million construction debt.
Biloxi would give up a million dollars in tax revenue. Councilmen unanimously supported the tax break, because they'd all like to see the property restored. "We're not getting that right now," councilman Charles Harrison said. "With this program, we'll get the taxes in the future."
White House construction came to a halt last summer, when Jimmy Love decided to review construction costs. Love said a new contractor may be brought in to finish the 112 room hotel.
"I would say within the next month, most of the ducks should be in a row," he said. "As soon as they can go back to the site and start up, you're probably only looking at a year to finish it."
Love said the new White House will be a four diamond, four star resort managed by the Sonesta group.