Construction is well underway on the Hampton Inn and Suites in Gulfport near the intersection of I-10 and Highway 49, but the developer wants to use the remaining 60 acres of the 90 acre site as a commercial and retail hub called Anchor Plaza.
Harrison County board member, Kim Savant, says the development would give the county and city a much needed economic boost in the long run. Savant says, “We service the debt on the Coliseum renovation with hotel room taxes. We're down roughly 4,000 rooms, so this gives us a chance to get additional rooms, gives us a chance to get bigger crowds in here.”
The developer, John Tampa, is asking for tax increment financing for the development, meaning he would be reimbursed for money spent out of pocket on public improvements, such as roads, drainage, and sewage. That reimbursement would come from the taxes generated from Anchor Plaza, once complete. Laurence Leyens, an economic developer, says, “There is no risk to the city or the county. They're not spending a dime towards this project. It's just a reimbursement if he builds what he says he's gonna’ build.”
At the public hearing on July 7th, the entire project will be shared with the community. Developers hope to portray that Anchor Plaza will have a positive economic impact on the City of Gulfport. Leyens also says, “We'll show the projected economic impact to the local economy in terms of revenue, sales tax, property tax. At that point, we will ask for public feedback on the project.”
As of now, the project, once complete, is expected to create nearly 1,000 temporary construction jobs and more than 500 permanent jobs. Savant closes, “I think it's going to be great for Harrison County and for Gulfport. A lot of sales taxes generated, a lot of rooms, which we are desperate for in Harrison County, and just a good project all the way around, a lot of public improvements in it.”