Old Federal Courthouse Still Vacant - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Old Federal Courthouse Still Vacant

BILOXI (WLOX) -- Some consider it the biggest eyesore in downtown Biloxi. The old federal courthouse building on Lameuse Street has been vacant since before Hurricane Katrina.

The old federal building is a concrete fortress in the heart of downtown Biloxi: a very visible location.

"Yeah, I'd like to see them do something with it. They need some offices in there," said one man, who works at nearby Peoples Bank.

A sign promises office and retail space coming soon. But the building itself shows only signs of neglect: overgrown weeds creeping through concrete, broken or missing windows and a general state of disrepair.

"It's no good for nothing. There needs to be something done. And it's an eyesore for Biloxi," said another Biloxi resident, as he surveyed the site.

"That's one of they key pieces of property downtown and we're excited about making the downtown vibrant," says Kay Miller, who directs Biloxi's Main Street program.

She says the owner of the old federal building recently met with a Main Street design team. They developed a mixed use project that combines retail, residential and perhaps even educational.

"We'd love to see some type of school. A culinary school or something would be really wonderful for that area. They've talked about a furniture store possibly going in part of it. So, there's lots of different things it could be used for," said Miller.

If the future plans for office or retail space in this building don't work out, then some workers in downtown Biloxi have another suggestion.

"Parking. Parking. Build a parking garage. It's terrible down here for parking," said a young woman, who works at a nearby law firm.

"You can tell back here that there's no parking at all. We're all fighting over parking spots," said her colleague.

The lot which surrounds the vacant federal building is already being used for downtown parking.

People we talked with are anxious to see some kind of new development in the concrete structure one woman said "looks like a prison."

"Do something with it. Tear it down and make a parking lot if nothing else," said the bank worker.

By Steve Phillips

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