Biloxi Condo Market Not As Plentiful As Once Anticipated

BILOXI (WLOX) -- The decision to eliminate condos from the Bacaran Bay casino project is a reminder to developers that south Mississippi is not the condo market they hoped it would be. The list of condo proposals WLOX News has reported on in the past that are no longer being sold includes the Tower at Edgewater, Bienville, Pelican Plantation, Shores of Paradise, and Bacaran Bay.

Bacaran Bay's Caillavet Street property is just like Shores of Paradise at the old Hook, Line and Sinker site on Highway 90. They both have signs on them touting condos. But developers now say neither condo project will ever be built. Mike Boudreaux was part of the team trying to market and sell Shores of Paradise and a variety of other condo proposals around Biloxi.

"We had 14-17 developments pre-Katrina. We lost eight of those," he said, citing the sagging market as a contributing factor.

Yet, despite the appearance that so many people are turning away from Biloxi condos, Boudreaux remains optimistic about their future.

"I am very optimistic. I'm also a realist in that again, things aren't selling like they were before," he admitted.

A few weeks back, the head of RW Development told WLOX News sales of his initial South Beach condominium building on the southside of Highway 90 were going strong. And Granville Smith said other RW condos would be built along the Biloxi strip. Especially if the city council gives his company permission to put a casino at the foot of Veterans Avenue.

"What we think is the gaming component will become the economic engine that will allow us to finance and develop a project of this scale," Smith said.

Mike Boudreaux says approval of that casino project will dictate what happens to other condo sites in this area of Biloxi.

"If there is a silver lining along the Mississippi Gulf Coast, it's what Katrina provided, meaning everything destroyed is being rebuilt, but being rebuilt better," Boudreaux said.

The zoning change needed to allow casinos at Biloxi strip properties, where condos never materialized, could be voted on next Tuesday.

According to the director of Biloxi's planning department, 27 condo projects have been proposed for properties around the city. Ed Shambra said If they were all built, just more than 13,000 condo units would be in the market. However, those numbers were as of last September. And Shambra says it's likely they haven't been updated to include condos that are no longer being built.