OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - There's a new building going up on Government Street in downtown Ocean Springs. When the work is finished, a bed and breakfast will be upstairs, a cafe and pewter shop below.
For owner John Cannon, it made a lot of sense. "It's like a little New Orleans down here, especially on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights. It's a great investment. There was no doubt," Cannon said.
John Read is a pharmacist on the second floor of another building. Below is a night club, above an apartment. He likes the mixed use plan in Ocean Springs because it showcases this city's diversity. "I think it's just the people and the town itself. They are open to new things, new avenues of business. And this is what has occurred," Read explained.
At another building, there's a construction company down, and condos up. Jared Christman is the company vice-president. "It's nice to be downtown amongst the local businesses and in walking proximity to the restaurants and the banks." Christman said.
That's a feeling shared by Jeff Menton, who lives in the condo upstairs along with his best friend, a friendly beagle. "Well, I enjoy the fact that it's pretty much within walking distance to a lot of stuff, so I don't really have to drive anywhere so that helps in case anything happens that night," Menton said.
One thing you notice while talking with people who live and work in a mixed used environment, they don't seem to mind each other. And they don't step on each other's toes.
Yvette Blackwell is a sales associate at a downstairs show boutique. " I think when you're in a limited area, and limited spaces, you have to utilize what you're working with, what you're dealing with and to have both concepts is wonderful," Blackwell exclaimed.
That's a feeling that appears to be growing steadily.
Other coast cities are also exploring the growing popularity of mixed use developments. Several projects are in the works in both downtown Gulfport and Biloxi.