Howard Avenue development to bring more business to downtown Biloxi

Published: Aug. 12, 2022 at 8:39 PM CDT
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BILOXI, Miss. (WLOX) - In downtown Biloxi, business is already booming thanks to the already existing establishments. However, things will only get busier for Howard Avenue.

President of Black Line Corp Kempton Batia says after years of reconstruction, the Saenger Theatre is in its final stretch.

“Having the Saenger up and running and hosting events will be good for the city,” said Batia. “It is one of the most historical buildings in the city.”

Batia says the $4 million project included things like replacing rotten walls and removing the old fly tower. Now, workers are replacing cast stone on the exterior part of the building, installing sealants and removing the scaffold.

Although Batia says there were delays because of storms and working with design teams, he’s excited that he’s a part of restoring downtown.

“Whenever you’re talking about revitalization of the downtown area and the other development and activities that are going on down there trying to restore that area and turn it into a center for business for leisure and other things, the Saenger would be critical for that,” he said.

The Saenger Theatre isn’t the only crucial part of the process.

Co-owner of the Barq Building Lee Young says the $2 million rebuild will provide more life to the area.

“There’s been a movement to have people want to locate back downtown instead of the traditional apartment,” said Young. “People like to walk now, they like to bike, they like to Uber and they want to be located where everything is happening.”

The mixed-use building will include 30 apartment units, retail and event space, as well as a restaurant.

Young says this will bring more jobs to the area as well as keep the businesses here busy.

“We’ve been given nothing but compliments so that makes me very happy and I hope that the community is going to be very happy when they see the final product,” he said.

Young says the apartments should be ready to lease within nine months and retail spaces in about a year.

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