Gulf Hills Hotel update

Gulf Hills residents in Ocean Springs are reacting after a developer withdrew his plans to redevelop the area surrounding the Gulf Hills Hotel.

The future is still uncertain for one historic Ocean Springs hotel. Developer Walter Reinhaus had plans to transform the Gulf Hills property to include an RV park, but withdrew his request following a meeting with the Jackson County Planning Commission. Jackson County Assistant Planning Director Marcus Catchot said, “After speaking to the planning commission and when he saw all the opposition that had showed up from the residents he withdrew his application.”

The proposal also included plans for new community gardens, refurbishment of the hotel’s historic pool, and new waterfront development, but the RV proposal was the one aspect of the plan met with disapproval. Gulf Hills Golf Club volunteer Teddy Harder said, “An RV park would have been tough. Mainly my thing about these big RV things driving in with those low trees and that.”

Gulf Hills resident George Canaga said, “The roads are not that big. The roads cannot handle them.  There’d be traffic tie-ups and people going up on yards and things like that because of the narrowness of the roads.”

Since its opening in 1927, notable guests include Al Capone and Elvis Presley. The hotel’s historic nature is why community members want to see the hotel remain a staple in the area. “The hotel needs help. It certainly means a lot if the hotel could get refurbished in some way and somebody could put some money, an infusion of money into that, that certainly would help the golf course.”

Still, it remains to be seen what’s next for the hotel that has stood for almost a century. “He said that he had some contingency plans with the company that he’s buying it from so I guess they’ll have to work that out. I’m not sure at this point what will happen with the hotel,” said Catchot.

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