Airport Expansion Spawns Nearby Business Development

It takes a long hard look to see what work is unfinished in the renovation and expansion of the Gulfport Biloxi International Airport.

"Everybody is very very impressed with the terminal," says Airport Director Bruce Frallic. "It's very attractive. We've got some exterior work we're still working on and also we're working on some office spaces inside the terminal."

Now, the work going on across the street has Airport Director Bruce Frallic excited.

"I think when you've latched on to 2 hotels, that's probably what you're going to do, and another 110 thousand square feet of office space. That's exciting for this whole area of the city and the whole Mississippi coast."

Two new hotels, the Hilton Garden Inn and the Marriott Residence Inn will become the first hotels located within walking distance to the airport.

"We're excited about it," says Frallic. "It's 242 total rooms and it adds a lot to the airport. People will be able to stay there and then catch an early flight out. It's much more convenient, plus the pilots and crews have a closer location."

Corporex, the same developer, is building a new commerce park next door to the hotels.

"The office park provides opportunities for new business to come to an area," says Frallic. "Also it's an opportunity for existing business to expand into class A office space. And of course the convenience of being right adjacent to the airport is a great stimulant for air service."

Service that Frallic says is growing as the airport expands.

"We are doing this year, almost a million total passengers. Next year we'll go beyond that by a couple hundred thousand it looks like, so we're growing very fast right now. It's a very exciting time to be here."

by Don Culpepper