City Council approves development plan for Centennial Plaza

GULFPORT — The City Council has voted to support a plan to develop Centennial Plaza.

The Sun Herald reports council members had questions about the length of the lease and the development plan for 60 of the 92 acres at the former Veterans Affairs property.

But after meeting with members of the Gulfport Redevelopment Commission, council members said they were satisfied.

“We were given some really good feedback and got good answers to our questions,” Councilman Rusty Walker said.

The city acquired the property after Hurricane Katrina from the federal government. In 2009, the city created the redevelopment commission to locate a developer. The commission has authority to negotiate and approve the lease.

Last week, Commission attorney Steve Hendrix said the group was negotiating with Glastonbury Gulfport, LLC to develop the property. The company would provide a development plan within seven months for a mixed-use project including a residential area, offices and restaurants.

Walker and others were concerned about signing a lease before having a plan and about the length of the lease, which is 50 years with an option to renew four times at 12-year intervals.

Hendrix said the commission would review the plan and if it wasn’t satisfactory, the lease could be terminated.

The agreement provides for a joint partnership of Glastonbury and the commission. The city would share in profits every year.

“My original concern was that we had not seen a development plan, but my fears have been allayed,” Walker said. “This is a premiere piece of property, and we really have a strong project.”

Hendrix said Glastonbury representatives will meet with the mayor and council later this month and that the lease likely will be signed early next week.

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