LONG BEACH, MS (WLOX) - The Harbor Market in Long Beach is now open for business, featuring Reenie’s Southern Kitchen and Parrish’s Lounge.
Owners Jim Parrish and his son Lee Parrish’s vision for the property doesn’t stop with a restaurant and bar. They also own the abandoned area across U.S. Highway 90 where the Parrish’s are in the planning stages of building a casino.
“We’re pretty confident, based on the investors we’ve talked to and operators, that we have a solid plan to move forward,” Lee Parrish said.
The plans can move forward following last week’s site approval by the Mississippi Gaming Commission. The proposal calls for 40,000 square feet of gaming space, a 300-room hotel, three restaurants and yet-to-be-announced amenities, all with a price tag of $180 million.
“$180 million is what we put in a budget. Will we go over that? It’s possible. It all depends on the operator and how we lay out the final parameters for the casino,” Lee said.
Compare the $180 million to the nearly $300 million it took to build the Scarlet Pearl. Despite the difference in price tags, Parrish said the Long Beach property is better suited right now to build on, and a parking garage won’t be needed.
“Most of our parking will be ground parking, so we will save a significant cost on the parking structure because that’s one of your big costs,” he said.
With the restaurant and bar already in place in the Harbor Market, Parrish said the foundation is being laid for what is to come.
“It is enticing to show that to a developer to say look we have this property with a restaurant, bar, concert area, market, and this would all tie into the casino going forward," he said.
According to Lee, if the development goes forward as planned, it would be a boost for Long Beach residents.
“With the city taking on the new responsibility of having a casino, it’s our obligation to help them put the infrastructures in place,” Lee said. “We’ll be generating revenue that will help pay for the new school, roads and we want to get the police and fire departments new equipment.”
The Coast already features 12 casinos, including the Island View just three miles from the proposed casino site in Long Beach. The competition doesn’t scare Lee. He believes it proves a new development can be successful.
“You still have major developments in Biloxi and Gulfport. There’s no reason why Long Beach can’t be on that same upward trend," he said.
Before construction can start, the gaming commission still has to approve financing plans and make sure the proposal meets standards. Lee said he expects the process to take up to a year.