"It's really starting to take off in this section of Gulfport," said Dr. Chuck Register, as the new pastor looked over his church's construction project along Highway 605.
That's why First Baptist Church of Gulfport is expressing so much faith in the church's new location on Highway 605. Church leaders believe the 605 corridor holds tremendous promise for residential growth.
"From this location, Tradition, that development is only about eight minutes from our site. Florence Gardens is right around the corner. So, there's just a lot of residential growth that's taking place in this part of Gulfport," says the pastor.
A development called Gulfport Highlands will be built just south and east of First Baptist.
"We think that the city is growing out that way and this is a prime spot for this new development," said realtor Claudia Keyes.
Gulfport Highlands is a mixed use project that embraces the new urbanism philosophy of town centers and attractive neighborhoods. Plans for the 80 acre site include 600 apartments and 200,000 square feet of commercial space.
"We've had a bank that's very interested in going on the corner. We've had a drug store that's interested in going in. So, it's happening," says Keyes.
The new north-south highway provides the access the area needs for future development. And judging from the number of "For Sale" signs, there are also plenty of available tracts of land to attract interested developers.
"We definitely have people interested," Keyes said.
Future development along 605 will follow the lead of the Baptist Church, which is about to finish phase one.
"Well, I'm not sure if we're pioneers, but we look forward to being good neighbors to those who follow us out on 605," said Dr. Register.
With all the development expected along Highway 605, the new roadway could easily become the new "Gateway to Gulfport."