Council Postpones Vote On VA Property Developers

The site of the old Gulfport VA on Highway 90 is very valuable property and what might happen to that land is of great interest.

For months now a committee formed to hire a consultant who will look at the future of the VA property, as well as downtown Gulfport and the harbor area. With Wednesday night's recommendations, it's up the city council to move forward. But at this point, council members are not ready to sign off on the deal.

"This committee brings this recommendation strictly as a recommendation. It is your responsibility as a council to negotiate that," says Demery Grubbs, the moderator for the RFQ Committee.

The RFQ stands for "request for qualification." Members of the committee say they've done their part. Now, they insist, the ball is in the hands of city council members.

Since February, the committee has been looking to find one master developer consultant. In the end, they didn't choose just one.

"We had three entities that had expertise in three different areas," Grubbs said.

The first, Coastal Renaissance Company, is a business that has extensive experience in neighborhood development.

Also chosen, HRI Properties, is a premier historical development company.

Finally, Corporex Corporation, is a company that's known for its high rise developments. Corporex is already working in Gulfport building the Marriott Residence Inn and the Hilton Garden Inn across from the airport.

City council members say they're not ready to sign off on any agreement just yet.

Council members Brian Carriere, Barbara Nalley, Neil Resh, and Ella Holmes-Hines voted to move the item to the next regular council meeting. They say that will give them more time to learn more about the developers.

The next council meeting is Tuesday, July 17th.