Residents Of The Gulf Palm Villas Condos Built Back On Their Own Terms

Residents of the Gulf Palm Villas condos say rebuilding their condo homes is a challenge 20 months in the making.

"For every roadblock that was put in our way. We've risen to the challenge," says Joseph Powell, Gulf Palm Villas, Board of Directors.

The residents of Gulf Palm Villas took on the challenge of rebuilding their condo homes, but they did it without the help of a developer. From working with architects and insurance adjusters to hiring GM&R as contractors, they developed their own plan to get their condos rebuilt.

"There's no better view in the world, and I told the people when we started with or without your help I'm going to live on the Mississippi Gulf Coast," says Powell.

The owners who lived in the 46 units, many of them retirees, all plan to come back. They say they will not rent out their condos, because these are their homes and they are invested in the community.

"These are people that shop here work here, not all of them, but a majority of them.  They spend the money here and that's why this project was important to the city of Pass Christian," says Frances Cefalu, Rebuilding Co-Chair.

"We're here because we love the coast and particularly Pass Christian, that's what brings us back," says Jasper Fisher, Gulf Palm Villas, President.

GM&R will build 7 condo buildings in the shape of a rectangle surrounding a swimming pool. The condos will be 1500 square feet. Cefalu, the rebuilding co-chair, says they plan to build back better and stronger.

"Each unit will have 8 inches of solid concrete around all four walls. We'll have concrete between the floors and the balconies, no more wood.  It's going to be a very, very strong structure," says Cefalu.

After 20 months of negotiations to get the condos rebuilt, these condo owners say all the work they put into the project was worth the wait to get back home.

Association board members say the move in date for the condos is set for July of next year.