The domino effect is causing ripples of economic progress in Harrison County with one new development fueling another, then another and another.
“The Gulf Coast has six or seven different components that are driving the economy,” said
Michael Oliver, executive director, Harrison County Development Commission. “We have been fortunate that the U.S. economy is strong particularly in the southern part of the U.S. In the Gulf South, our region is also driven by a resurgence in the oil and gas industry. Even though oil prices are low, work in the oil field is at a very high pace. Expectations are that oil prices will eventually rise increasing opportunities on the Mississippi Gulf Coast especially to more activity in marine fabrication.”
Casinos and related resort developments on the Coast have totalled nearly $3 billion in the past six years. Olivier said the casino industry has impacted a large number of businesses on the Coast, leading to increases in retail sales, residential and commercial construction activity and a myriad of support service industries.
The Edgewater Mall now has more than 100 stores, and recently expanded to more than a million square feet. The Gulfport Factory Shops at the Intersection of U.S. 49 and Interstate 10 has done so well that it is being expanded earlier than projected. And another 800,000-square-foot retail development, the Crossroads Mall, is currently under construction at that same intersection.
Plans for a new Wal-Mart Supercenter have been finalized in D`Iberville, and Harrison County has also seen a large increase in hotels rooms that will be capped by the $600-million Beau Rivage Resort which will include upscale restaurants and a hotel with 1,720 rooms and 60 suites.
Major condominium projects are also planned in Harrison County. Millionaire developer Allen Paulson has planned a luxury condominium complex located between Beau Rivage and Grand Casinos on the north side of U.S. 90 to Howard Avenue.
Plans for the complex include four, 20-story highrise buildings with condominiums that would sell from between $350,000 to $5 million.
Harrison County is also seeing significant highway construction, and continued strong activity at the Gulfport State Port. The port is planning a $40-million expansion to improve facilities to handle containerized cargo.
The port`s net operating income has increased from about $2.2 million in 1993, to $9.8 million in 1997, with most of the increase attributed to lease payments provided by Grand Casino Gulfport.