Menge Avenue Buc-ee’s project approved for up to $25 million in bonds

Today, Harrison County supervisors voted unanimously to approve tax increment financing for the development.
Published: Aug. 17, 2022 at 10:17 AM CDT|Updated: Aug. 17, 2022 at 10:22 AM CDT
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HARRISON COUNTY, Miss. (WLOX) -The Harrison County Board of Supervisors voted Wednesday morning to approve tax increment financing for the new Buc-ee’s development in Pass Christian, as well as to provide financing and oversight for the related I-10 exchange project.

The board first approved the Buc-ee’s project in July 2021. Now, they say Harrison County will partner with the West Harrison Water and Sewer District to execute this project and issue up to $25 million dollars in bonds.

The Buc-ee’s Travel Center, which will be the first in Mississippi, will sit on about 44 acres of property at the northwest corner of the intersection of Firetower Road and I-10, off the Menge Avenue exit. The center will be approximately 74,000 square feet, with 60,000 square feet of covered canopy space and 540,000 square feet of paved parking and internal passageways.

The 2018 Gulf Regional Planning traffic count data indicates roughly 48,000 cars a day pass the Menge Avenue exit on I-10, with 6,400 cars a day driving on Menge Avenue just south of the interstate. These cars are all filled with potential Buc-ee’s customers Harrison County is banking on as they approve financial assistance for the project.

However, Buc-ee’s isn’t the only business planning for a new presence in the area; the 140 surrounding acres will be sold off and developed as part of the Menge Commercial Park. Beau Box, the relator representing owners of the 140-parcel, said the commercial park could feature retail, hotel, medical, and office space.

Buc-ee’s, in conjunction with the county and district, will widen the Menge Avenue overpass from two lanes to five lanes and install a roundabout. They will also build a new road between Lobouy Road and Firetower Road / Menge Avenue that will run through the middle of the planned commercial park. According to Box, the cost of this expansion should be between 15 and 20 million dollars.

The Mississippi Department of Transportation is reviewing the plans for road improvements in the area.

The board’s approval of financial assistance is an important step in the project’s progress. Many are excited about the new location, as the store is expected to bring in large numbers of visitors to the area and create around 200 jobs.

“We are working diligently to bring Buc-ee’s award-winning restrooms, freshly prepared food, and cheap gas to Pass Christian, MS,” said a spokesperson for the company. “We hope to begin construction starting next year.”

The business has several locations in Texas but in recent years has begun expanding throughout the Southeast. The closest location to South Mississippi currently is the Buc-ee’s in Robertsdale, Ala., which can be found on I-10 going toward Gulf Shores. Since it opened a few years ago, it has become a tourist destination in and of itself, with thousands of people stopping there each day.

There are currently 43 Buc-ee’s locations. Buc-ee’s holds world records for the largest convenience store and the longest car wash.

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