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Mississippi firms reap 42 percent of port contracts

By JACK WEATHERLY 

About 42 percent of the dollar amount of  contracts awarded thus far in the restoration and expansion of the Port of Gulfport have gone to Mississippi-based firms.

Fifteen Mississippi companies have won contracts valued at about $194 million of a total of approximately $468 million in awarded contracts, according to an analysis by the Mississippi Business Journal of data provided by the port.

“It’s not surprising to me, because local people are there and can service things well,” said Blake Wilson, executive director of the Mississippi Economic Council, the state chamber of commerce.

The project, which is expected to be completed by the end of 2017, was born in controversy over the shifting of $566 million in federal money originally designated for low-to-middle-income housing to the port restoration and expansion.

In exchange, the state of Mississippi promised to create 1,300 jobs, 51 percent of which must be for lower income workers.

The total of jobs that the federal Housing and Urban Development has credited toward that goal is not known.

The Mississippi Development Authority submitted to HUD about 326 nongaming jobs at the Island View Casino Hotel, which is located on port property, to

About 300 of the hotel jobs fall into that category, Daniels said.

He said Island View is the largest tenant in terms of number of jobs.

Among capital investments from the HUD transfer are:

» Jackson-based Neel-Schaffer, $24 million contract for engineering and design.

» W.C. Fore Trucking of Gulfport, $39.6 million for filling about 84 acres for the west pier expansion.

» Necaise Brothers Construction Inc. of Gulfport, $69.3 million for west pier utilities and site work and $44.1 million for phase 2 west pier construction.

» L&A Contracting of Hattiesburg, $57.7 million for wharf upgrades.

Other Mississippi companies awarded contracts are, under professional services:

» QES, $2.8 million; Mississippi Engineering Group, $273,000; Atwell & Gent P.A., Starkville, $340,000; Tropical World, $139,900, and Eley Guild and Hardy Architects, $2 million.

For construction management, Yates Construction of Philadelphia, in conjunction with Roy Anderson Corp. of Gulfport, $16.9 million

Other construction contracts:

Ruiz Construction, $552,000; Can’t Be Beat Fence, Perkinston, $150,200; Dan Hensarling $3.38 million, Gulfport; J.E. Borries, $1 million, Vancleave, and J.O. Collins Contracting, Biloxi, $320,000.

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