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Road project expected to spur casino development

BILOXI — The extension of Back Bay Boulevard won’t quite complete “the loop” around East Biloxi but it will be enough for casino developers to invest millions in the city.

The Sun Herald reports city council members heard a proposal yesterday for using $5 million from the Mississippi Development Authority to complete Phase I of the road construction. They also heard about a $200 million casino project at Biloxi Boardwalk and a $50 million-$60 million hotel tower at Margaritaville Casino.

John Cary, managing director of Margaritaville, says the owners want to build a water feature, restaurants and retail and upgrade the entire Margaritaville property to have a Miami Beach feel.

Chris Ferrara, one of the largest landholders in Biloxi, said he is prepared to donate 66,000 square feet of his land for the connector road that will extend Back Bay Boulevard to near his proposed casino resort at Biloxi Boardwalk on Eighth Street and on to Margaritaville on Fifth Street.

The land he will donate has a value of between $600,000 and $1 million, he said.

Ferrara already has built Biloxi Boardwalk Marina and the Hook Up Restaurant and said with the new access he is ready to invest $200 million more to build what he describes as a “compound.” In the 185,000-square-foot former Heinz plant, he plans a casino, convention center and hotel. Also planned are a pet hotel, an outdoor amphitheater and RV park, which he said are amenities that will bring people to the city and entice them to stay longer.

“In the long run, I think that the whole area will develop and benefit,” Ferrara said.

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