GAUTIER, Miss. (WLOX) - After sitting lifeless for more than six years, the old Singing River Mall property will finally see signs of new development.
With the exception of one department store, its customers, and a few trees, the 55-acre mall property has been devoid of life for more than six years. Well, that’s all about to change as $5.5 million has just been granted to the city of Gautier to buy this property and turn it into a town center development.
“The money came in from two places. $3.5 million came from the Gulf Coast Restoration Fund and $1.5 million from the Mississippi State Bond Bill,” Gautier’s City Manager Paula Yancey told WLOX.
“The owner has agreed in writing for us to purchase the property for $5.5 million and we currently have a preliminary development agreement with Blackwater Resources,” Yancey said.
She said that bringing Blackwater Resources into the fold, known for The Wharf in Orange Beach, Alabama, will be a game-changer for more than the city’s residents.
“Based on the preliminary discussions, it won’t just be for the citizens of Gautier. I think it will be a very unique development along the Coast,” Yancey said.
This new Blackwater project coincides with another city project going on directly adjacent to this property on the 33-acre parcel of land just north of the old mall property.
“Right across the street over there, the city is developing a Town Commons Park, and we’re trying to make it all one flow, downtown area,” she said.
The vision is to have a downtown area that includes more than just another retail space.
“We have been in discussions with the Mississippi Songwriters Alliance to put a Mississippi Songwriters Hall of Fame Museum here. We’ve talked about some condos, some housing, some retail, some out-parcels. So, once we firm up the purchase, Blackwater will then start designing a site plan for a mixed-use development of this property,” she said.
Yancey said that the city can’t take all of the credit.
”Jeremy England and Rep. John Reed, they were very supportive of our city and I just can’t thank them enough,” she said.
Yancey said that Blackwater Resources is working on the official site plan right now and that construction can be expected to start as early as next year.