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City councilman calls unfinished casino 'eyesore'

BILOXI — The city of Biloxi is seeking authority from the Legislature to deal with blighted commercial property.

Its target is Caesars Entertainment’s unfinished casino on the beach on U.S. Highway 90.

The city had authority until last September when a law expired to clean commercial buildings and multi-family housing complexes damaged by Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

Harrah’s Entertainment, now Caesars, planned an $800 million casino on the site with singer Jimmy Buffett. Work stopped when the recession hit, leaving the city with a skeleton of metal and concrete on U.S. 90.

Buffett has since opened a casino on Biloxi’s Back Bay.

“It’s an eyesore,” Councilman David Fayard told The Sun Herald.

“We hear about it all the time from developers and citizens,” said Jerry Creel, community development director. “It is an eyesore and it’s got to go.”

Creel said Caesars repaired the fence around the framework and under the current code, “that structure is not in violation.”

Creel said Jonathan Jones, general manager of Grand Casino Biloxi, told him this week Caesars is still trying to sell the property.

Under the law passed by the Legislature, the city removed 22 Katrina-damaged buildings removed and 24 buildings brought up to code and ready for business in 2012, said Mayor A.J. Holloway.

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