PASCAGOULA, Miss. (WLOX) - An $8 million investment in downtown Pascagoula has city leaders excited about what the future holds for the Flagship City.
The city council voted unanimously Tuesday to give City Centre developers a major tax break on the project.
“I believe what it means is the complete revitalization of downtown,” said downtown property owner Shannon Strunk. “I mean, this is the catalyst that is going to allow people to continue to invest in downtown.”
Shannon and his wife Cynthia Baber-Strunk have owned the lot at 3207 Magnolia Street for seven years. For years, that building was the downtown branch of Hancock Bank. Now, thanks to tax incentives, they are looking to fill downtown one more with new residents and businesses.
The four-story Magnolia Street development would bring more residential and office space to downtown Pascagoula.
With that new space, the Strunks are hopeful that it will bring young talent to work and live in the building.
“It is critical for us to get young talent here that starts here and lives here over time,” said Shannon Strunk.
The Strunks believe the development will fill a void in the city and set it up for greater success in the years ahead. Their hope, they said, is that Pascagoula is able to draw these young professionals to the city and that they stay in South Mississippi long term.
“The problem right now is that there is just no place for young professionals to come and live,” said Cynthia Baber-Strunk.
City manager Michael Silverman stresses the city’s tax abatement program has been key in redeveloping the community.
“We have seen a lot of folks come to take advantage of the residential abatement side of things and, from the commercial side of things, this has been a major reason for a lot of downtown growth, along with the excellent work our Pascagoula Redevelopment Authority has done in providing incentives to local developers,” said Silverman.
The tax exemption the Strunks are receiving allows for up to an 80 percent reduction of all city taxes, and the cuts can last up to seven years.
The city decides on a case-by-case basis on whether or not to award an abatement opportunity to businesses attempting to invest in the community.