The Singing River Mall in Gautier is coming down, but a bigger development is on the way. City officials and the public are saying goodbye to the mall and hello a brand new town center. For years, rumors swirled around the fate of the Singing River Mall in Gautier. Today, city officials put those rumors to rest, and revealed the beginning of the biggest economic development plan the city has ever seen. Mary Martin, Councilwoman at Large, says, “It’s like a dream come true." After years of comprehensive planning, the future of the Singing River Mall is finally clear. With a couple swings of a hammer, the city said its goodbye to its beloved mall it has known since the 70s. Martin also says, "I was here the day the mall opened up, in the 70s, 80s, and I’m here today when we're starting to tear it down."
Alonzo Noland, a resident of Gautier, says, "I was a teenager in this mall here, and I hate to see it go, but we're getting bigger and better things here, and I believe it'll probably help the economy." The city is now preparing to welcome the new town center, a 90 million dollar project, full of retail stores and restaurants. It is predicted to bring in 125 million dollars in sales tax revenue annually for the city. Shane Morris, a developer with Morris & Companies, says, "We saw a need in Gautier. There’s a lack in retail, a lack of restaurants, great support from the county, as well as the city, and it really seemed like a great opportunity."
Construction crews have already begun putting up fencing around the demolition area. While it's too soon to say which retailers will be joining the existing Belk and expected Walmart Supercenter, developers say there is overwhelming interest from other merchants that want in. Morris also says, "I think they'll be able to capture a bigger market down here, with fewer dollars spent on advertising, and things like that. So it just looks like a wide open opportunity, not so competitive." The project is also expected to create 600 to 900 jobs. Officials say the project will bring more visitors to the area and stimulate the economy. The demolition will take about eight months. The developers predict the project will be complete by late 2016.