Friday, December 9, 2022

Development of Howard Avenue to bring more business to downtown Biloxi


BILOXI, Miss. (WLOX) – In downtown Biloxi, business is already booming thanks to the facilities already in place. Things are about to get busier for Howard Avenue, though.

Black Line Corp. President Kempton Batia says that after years of rebuilding, the Saenger Theater is at its final stretch.

“Saenger’s action and hosting and event hosting will be good for the city,” Batia said. “It’s one of the most historic buildings in the city.”

Batia says the $4 million project included things like replacing rotting walls and removing the old fly tower. Workers are now replacing the cast stone on the exterior of the building, installing insulation and removing scaffolding.

Although Batia says there were delays due to the storms and working with design crews, he is excited to be a part of the downtown restoration.

“Whenever you’re talking about the revitalization of the downtown area and the other developments and activities that are going on down there trying to restore that area and turn it into a business center for entertainment and other things, Saenger would be critical of this. “, he said.

The Saenger Theater is not the only important part of the process.

Building co-owner Barq Lee Young says the $2 million redevelopment will breathe more life into the area.

“There’s been a movement for people to want to go back downtown instead of the traditional apartment,” Young said. “People now like to walk, they like to bike, they like to ride Uber, and they want to be located where everything is happening.”

The mixed-use building will include 30 apartment units, retail and event space, and a restaurant.

Young says this will bring more jobs to the area as well as keep businesses here busy.

“We’ve had nothing but compliments, so that makes me very happy and I hope the community will be very happy when they see the final product,” he said.

Young says the apartments should be ready to lease within nine months and the retail space in about a year.

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