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Developer has 18 projects underway as part of area’s rebirth

BILOXI — Ask busy developer Mike Boudreaux to describe a typical day and he laughs. That’s because he is the president and chief executive officer of Gulf Coast Investment Developers (GCID) and currently involved with 18 projects.

“It’s very typical in that there is no typical day,” he said. “A day goes from daylight to after dark, all pointing to successful completion of these projects.”

Boudreaux grew up in Ocean Springs, graduated from Ocean Springs High School and the University of Southern Mississippi with a degree in banking and finance. He is vitally interested in what happens now and in the future of the area.

“My family has deep roots here. I feel blessed to be a part of the rebuilding phenomena that is about to begin and know that what GCID is doing will not only assist in reaffirming our heritage and culture, but will assist in establishing a new and exciting era here on the Mississippi Gulf Coast,” he said. “Many years from now, I envision my children and grandchildren looking back with pride, as I did in my younger years.”

Boudreaux spent a number of years in the banking profession, working in Hattiesburg, Jackson, Pascagoula and New Orleans. At age 29 he became president of a small bank with $26 million in assets. In only three years those assets grew to $53 million.

“I liked small banks and when it was bought out, I did not want to move to a larger bank,” he said.

He started a development company in Hattiesburg, and then moved out West and later to New York. “I bounced around in all the major markets until I decided to come back to the Coast,” he said. “I knew condos would be the next wave here after the casinos came in.”

GCID was formed in 1999 to begin building condos on the Coast. “We can call ourselves pioneers and we got quite a few arrows in our butts doing it,” Boudreaux said. “GCID Realty — my wife, Cheryl, son Chad, and myself — was formed specifically to help clients. Condo sales were new and not known on the Coast at that time. We do options on property to take it forward and assist in all phases of development.”

He finds that his banking background is great for the development business because he can assist and understand financing.

Sea Breeze Condominiums, located on the beach in Biloxi, were nearing completion last year when Hurricane Katrina struck. The building’s sturdy construction withstood the devastating storm. Now it is finished and should have tenants moving in before the end of the year.

“Sea Breeze is being applauded for the way it withstood Katrina, and it’s eye appealing,” Boudreaux said. “That gives me a sense of accomplishment to put a building on the earth that will remain.”

He adds that everyone takes pride in the success of seeing something grow; taking a raw piece of dirt and seeing something come up from it. “It’s a rewarding job to be part of it,” he said, “and I want to be a part of the Coast renaissance.”

With Boudreaux’s leadership, GCID has taken 50 projects through the process of planning, modifying and permitting. They’ve had only one that wasn’t approved. A lot of time is spent meeting with community groups and governmental entities.

Of the 18 projects currently in various stages, there are two casinos, two subdivisions and one apartment complex in addition to condos. Several others are being reviewed but Boudreaux says the company doesn’t take every project that comes through the door.

“It has to fit with the needs of the community. That’s why we’re working on subdivisions and an apartment complex. We want to help get housing back,” he said. “Then we’ll get back to water-related projects.”

Looking ahead, he is optimistic about the future of the area.

“I have a sense that we’ll have three to five years of phenomenal growth on the Coast and at least 10 years of sustained growth,” he said.

Any fears along the way? “There’s always fear of the unknown,” he said. “Callers ask about adequate roads and sewers. They want to know if the casinos are coming back. We must fight fears on a daily basis. Katrina’s devastation was so huge. If we had one this year, it would have really hurt.”
Rising insurance costs are also a part of those fears. “There are other things nationwide that increase insurance costs and it will come down to what is realistic,” he said. “Sea Breeze is open and got hit with those rising costs, but we will start closing out units in the next two weeks and see people moving into them in November and December.”

As for a typical day, Boudreaux’s day begins at 5:30 or 6 a.m. By the time he arrives at his office at 7:30 or 8, he’s already had 10 to 15 calls on his cell phone. Then he finds another 10 to 15 waiting at the office.

“I look at two computers in the office and rotate in and out of meetings with the staff,” he said. “We have people walking in to meet with us and some are sent by community groups that we meet with.”

He usually utilizes the office kitchen and doesn’t go out for lunch. Many evenings are spent taking clients to dinner and the business day is usually over around 7 p.m.

Boudreaux, 55, enjoys working with his son, Chad, and says Chad keeps them legal. “Working with Chad is very rewarding,” he said. “With clients around, he calls me Mike. Other times, he calls me Dad. We have a great deal of respect for each other and don’t butt heads.”

His other son, Jody, lives in Vero Beach, Fla., where he owns a stockbrokerage firm. Boudreaux says Jody is thinking of relocating to the Coast to join the renaissance taking place.

Boudreaux usually comes into the office on Saturdays but keeps an eye on sports programs on the television. “I’m a great sports enthusiast and enjoy watching football,” he said. “I also enjoy spending time with my children and grandchildren and being outside.”

Contact MBJ contributing Lynn Lofton at llofton656@aol.com.


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