Developers work to bring vision for The District on Howard to life
BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - As road work nears the finish line on Howard Avenue, developers are working on big plans to make the downtown street the place to be.
“Sometimes it takes a little vision, initiative, and people putting their money where their mouth is," said Lee Edward Young, developer with The District on Howard.
Young and his partner Hobbs Mize said they have just that to transform Howard Avenue from a lifeless downtown street into a vibrant place to live, eat, and enjoy. They’ve invested more than $30 million and have bought several properties on Howard as part of the plan for what they call The District on Howard Avenue.
Young said it’s a big risk with big rewards, like creating jobs and returning a sense of pride to Biloxi as Mayor Andrew “FoFo” Gilich and city leaders restore downtown to its former glory.
“He wants to see this back to how it was in the ’40s and ’50s, and we have given him our promise that we’re going to go with his marching orders to try to achieve that too," Young said.
A large piece of the puzzle is the historic Barq Building.
A complete overhaul of the second floor will turn former dentist, doctor and lawyer offices into 60 one, two, and three-bedroom apartments with balconies and views of downtown. On the first floor will be places to shop and eat.
As for what specific businesses will be moving in, Young’s lips are sealed for now.
“Picture downtown Ocean Springs on steroids, with some big names," he said.
Efforts will be made to preserve the building’s history, from salvaging its original facade to saving signatures on the walls from the 1930s.
All of this is a venture Young said won’t happen overnight, but one he believes is just the beginning of a promising future for Biloxi.
“As long as we continue to have the support of the city, we think the sky is the limit," he said.
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