PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - After years of talking and planning, work is now underway on a major economic development project in the heart of downtown Pascagoula.
The Courtyards at City Dock is a 29-unit townhome and commercial project that will transform the city’s riverfront. It represents an investment of $12 million, and more importantly, it sends a powerful message about the city’s future business climate.
Phase one is well underway with more to come. With potentially hundreds of new residents soon to call downtown Pascagoula home, business owners are excited.
“Well, I think it’s going to revitalize the downtown area. I believe we’re going to see more shopping in our area, which is going to increase businesses,” said John Gaffney, store owner of Round Island Divers.
The impact won’t be Itty Bitty at one downtown establishment. That’s the name of the business owned by Stephanie Verrett.
“I think it’s a great opportunity to get new customers into the downtown and to also be able to hopefully expand the downtown area, maybe even get in some new businesses. We’re definitely excited for us because that means new customers,” she said.
New residents will probably get hungry, and Off the Hook restaurant is just up the road from the site.
“It means, hopefully, more business. More residents usually means more business, and more foot traffic and hopefully more business for everyone in downtown,” said chef Josh Walczak.
Anchor Square Shopping Complex sits one block away.
“Anchor Square, people will be able to come out here and get a smoothie, shop around and even stop by the boutique. We’ve got a paint shop up out here. And just come out here, and explore and see what’s going on,” said Marcel Kinnard, a business owner at the complex.
For a city that has financial challenges, the additional tax revenue can’t be overlooked. That’s the word from Mayor Dane Maxwell.
“It’s an injection that we desperately need, and you know, it’s going to be several thousands of dollars investment per unit. So, I think we’re going to see a big increase,” he explained.
With years of economic stagnation in downtown Pascagoula, brought on first by Hurricane Katrina, then the recession and then the BP oil spill, this project means a newfound confidence in the future of downtown, according to Maxwell.
“We have a number of new developers coming, and they’re starting to key on the point that Pascagoula is in a really good location, and we have a lot to offer down here,” he said.
And the Courtyards at City Dock will certainly be a part of that offering.
Several of the homes have already been pre-sold. Some should be ready to move into by the latter part of this year.