GULFPORT, Miss. (WLOX) - The Gulfport Highlands property currently boasts one facility, but that could soon change.
“It’s about ten acres that is going to be built into a senior citizens development," said Gulfport Councilman R. Lee Flowers.
The original developer, Wier Boerner Architecture, has sold the parcel to The Claiborne at Gulfport Highlands, LLC. They will operate assisted-living units, independent living cottages and could add up to 40 full-time employees.
“This is definitely a departure from what the original concepts for development were going to be out here, but the developer is pursuing this avenue," said Flowers. "And with that pursuit of this, I think some other things that may have been conceptualized previously will evolve too.”
The original project is still underway. However, with the slow development in the area, Wier Boerner Architecture is under contract to sell the parcel to The Claiborne. This in an effort to boost traffic in the area, so that future development can be a potential.
“This developer is still involved," Flowers said. "He has other parcels of property that are here that are still under his management. He’s actually pursuing and interested in doing further development of businesses in this area.”
Wier Boerner applied for and was approved for a Tax Incentive Financing Plan (TIF) through the city to begin development years ago. They will now ask the city to terminate the TIF, as is part of the of the original agreement, so that The Claiborne can purchase the land and begin the process to obtain the Mississippi Health Care Industry Zone Incentive Program as outlined in the Healthcare Industry Zone Act.
The synergy that is being created in the area - because of help from Jackson - is what Flowers said could help development in this area of Gulfport really take off.
“Really what we’re starting to see this develop into is a medical corridor. The synergy of more medical-focused or senior-services-focused developments is because the governor actually has made some money available or opportunities available to allow businesses to focus on that and makes it more of an incentive for them to do so,” Flowers said.
And this is great news for the people that live in the area.
“You start creating a nice community of similar folks that won’t bother each other because they’re similar, and all of a sudden, you have something that’s really working well in the community," said Flowers. "So, we see this as a possible avenue to pursue that would attract like businesses.”
The Gulfport city council will vote Tuesday to end the previously approved TIF with Wier Boerner Allin Architecture, so that The Claiborne can begin finalizing plans for the new development.