Progress helps bring down old warehouse in Ocean Springs

By Steve Phillips - bio | email

OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX)-An aging warehouse in Ocean Springs is being torn down to make way for new development.

The old "Ferson Optics" factory on Government Street will soon be replaced with a condominium and retail project.

Houston developer Sid Weiss is the man behind the development. His proposed residential and retail center is the latest project along a busy corridor that's seeing plenty of progress.

The long vacant warehouse is coming down. Once cleared, the prime piece of near-downtown property will be transformed.

"It's going to be a mixed use, retail and residential facility. About fifty thousand square feet of retail and office space and approximately 50 to 60 one bedroom units," said Mayor Connie Moran.

The planned development on the old Ferson Optics site joins a growing list of construction projects along that area of Government Street. Construction is already underway on several new businesses across the street.

"It's going to be good for us," said restaurant owner Laurie Authement.

She welcomes the progress. Three months ago, Authement  opened a new restaurant across the street from the Ferson site.

"We're excited. I think it's going to be good for the city, bring everyone from downtown a little bit further out. Hopefully it will give us some new business here," she said.

Both the mayor and restaurant owner consider the ongoing and proposed development a natural extension of downtown Ocean Springs. After all, the Ferson property is less than one mile from Washington Avenue and the very heart of downtown.

"I know that the Broome family is interested in renovating the Broomes grocery store. The YMCA has got some fantastic plans they would like to expand. So, the entire corridor and that neighborhood is going through a revitalization," says Mayor Moran.

The city's public works department is located directly behind the Ferson property. Mayor Moran says long term plans may include relocating public works, then selling that city-owned property for additional development.