GAUTIER, MS (WLOX) - Wednesday sledgehammers were swinging inside the Singing River Mall marking the beginning of demolition for the shopping center. Crews put up fencing and an excavator sits at Singing River Mall for its demolition.
With golden sledgehammers and a champagne toast, city and county leaders and key stakeholders said goodbye to the mall and hello to the Gautier Town Center.
Once demolition of the 53 acre site is complete in about seven months, shoppers will see construction on the new $90 million, 380,000 square foot open air retail space.
"It absolutely will drive more traffic in here. We believe here in Jackson County, we'll take the opportunity to give everybody a great shopping venue," said Gautier Mayor Gordon Gollott.
The new commercial development isn't only going to bring more shopping options to Gautier, it's also going to bring jobs in construction and in retail.
Just the Super Wal-Mart alone is expected to bring in well over 1,000 jobs. City leaders say this new project will draw shoppers from all over.
"What the numbers show us is that we're going to be pulling from the east. We'll be pulling from Mobile. We'll be pulling from Alabama. That's critical to the state. That's critical to the county. And so we're excited to see that transformation take place," said City Manager Samantha Abell.
Shane Morrison and his partners are the developers of the Gautier Town Center. Morrison says what attracted him to Gautier was its citizens.
"It really started with the support of the community. The county, the city has just been incredible as far as wanting this project to happen and getting behind it with their full support. So that was the biggest key in letting us know that we think we could be really successful here," said Morrison.
Morrison says there will be more than 50 tenants of all sizes on the new site and demolition could take up to seven months.