Biloxi Expects To Soon Have More Apartments Than Before Katrina

HARRISON COUNTY (WLOX) -- Hundreds of apartment units now under construction could be the answer for some of those moving out of FEMA trailers.

Take a look how many apartments are currently under construction or approved for construction in four Harrison County cities.

  • D'Iberville 1398
  • Pass Christian 104
  • Gulfport 1046
  • Biloxi 1152

In Biloxi, crews working on McDonnell Avenue are building 160 apartments.  In 2007, Biloxi was about 400 apartments short of the number of unsubsidized apartments it had before Katrina. With all the work going on this year, officials expect that gap to disappear.

Community Development Director Jerry Creel said, "We think that not only will we get back up to pre-storm levels, we're going to eclipse that. We're going to go beyond that. I think that developers have realized that there is a dire need for the apartment market."

There are already 240 apartments at Arbor Place. Soon there will be 88 more. Biloxi city officials say new rules from the State Department Of Environmental Quality regarding wetlands are encouraging development.

"D.E.Q. has made some changes to their state regulations about filling in wet lands," said Creel. "What that's done on these properties where apartments are being constructed. It's all allowed that developer to go in and fill in a larger percentage of wetlands so they can construct more apartment units there."

Creel says every new apartment available for rent has the potential to help a family get out of a FEMA trailer.

"We're excited about the apartment element coming back," Creel said. "This is the first step into getting people back into Biloxi is to provide them with a temporary or semi-permanent place to live until the can get back on their feet and get a single family home constructed."

Last year, there were 13,594 non-subsidized apartment units on the Mississippi Coast, according to Gulf Regional Planning Commission. That agency is in the process of gathering the 2008 apartment numbers.