What was left of Chateau de la Mer teetered on pilings just above Highway 90. And then, with a simple push of a track hoe shovel, the first battered and beaten section of the condo complex toppled over. Johnny Frazier runs EZ Haul, the company hired to tear down the condos.
"The wind could have blew it over. I mean it's in bad shape. So, it's time for it to come down," he said.
Onlookers with cameras recorded the initial demolition work. What they taped at the corner of Highway 90 and Cowan Road was what people kept begging city hall for. They kept asking for the waterfront eyesore to disappear.
Mayor Brent Warr heard many of the complaints.
"We were really hoping it would have been done three or four months ago," he said as a piece of the Chateau de la Mer fell to the ground behind him. "But it's sure good to see it today."
A track hoe operator worked between cement pilings to reach the damaged condos. The pilings will be salvaged. The condo units are heading to a landfill.
Frazier called his company's work "progress. And I think Gulfport needs to see it coming. We're making a move toward rebuilding. And this is a sign of it."
Gulfport still has other properties around the city that have been deemed unsafe, and therefore must be torn down.
"We're sending our code officials out to talk to them," the mayor said. "We're sending them letters saying it's time now, take it seriously. We can't wait any longer. This is the beginning of the new Gulfport."
Demolition at the old Chateau de la Mer could take up to two weeks to complete.
According to Frazier, a Hattiesburg developer named Michael Long has an option to buy the condo property.