Owners of blighted buildings given deadline to submit plan

BILOXI — The owners of two of Biloxi’s biggest eyesores — the unfinished casino and the senior citizens apartments downtown — have until Nov. 1 to tell the city what they plan to do with the buildings.

On July 30, the city served papers to the Catholic Charities Housing Association for the building on U.S. 90. It hasn’t been occupied since it was damaged by Hurricane Katrina and was on Biloxi’s “blight list” last year. It hasn’t been occupied since it was damaged by water and wind during Hurricane Katrina and was on Biloxi’s “blight list” last year.

On July 31, Caesars Entertainment was cited for the steel and concrete skeleton of what was to be an $800 million Margaritaville Casino. The national financial crisis forced construction to stop in 2008 after millions were spent on engineering and materials.

Jerry Creel, community development director, tells The Sun Herald developers have told him they won’t invest in the city until the skeleton is gone and the City Council asked him repeatedly what could be done to have it demolished.

His department found a building code provision that deals with property under construction that hasn’t had any work done in more than two years.

Caesars did not comment, but in May at the Southern Gaming Summit in Biloxi, Gary Loveman, the company’s president, said there’s been no interest from any company to develop the unfinished property and the structure might be torn down.

The solution for the apartment building may be harder to find, said Greg Crapo, secretary of the Catholic Charities Housing. A lien on the building prevented it from being sold or demolished until the new Santa Maria del Mar apartments were built in North Biloxi, away from storm surge.

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