By LISA MONTI
The Bay St. Louis beachfront retail and restaurant district is seeing change on both sides of Beach Boulevard.
The French Settlement retail building at 108 South Beach Blvd. has a new owner, and across the street, the Murphy family is rebuilding their popular beachfront restaurant and bar that Hurricane Katrina wiped away in 2005.
The Murphy family is investing around $750,000 to rebuild on the same site as the original Dan B’s but with a smaller footprint.
Ken Murphy, who is a well known photographer, said the new building will be three stories and each floor will have about 2,300 square feet of space. The top floor will have a bar and a stage for live music. The second floor will house the kitchen, dining area, restrooms and a gift shop. Picnic tables will be on the ground level where special events will be held.
“Our menu will be mostly poboys and our normal fare like roast beef and fried seafood. We are planning on doing breakfast, lunch and dinner. For breakfast and lunch, customers will order at the counter. After 5 we will have table service,” Murphy said.
The Murphy family bought the site in 1981. It has been home to bars since the early 1940s, he said. The new venture will join three others and the city’s harbor on the beachfront that in some spots is still coming back from Katrina.
“I like the fact that there’s a lot there,” Murphy said.”It doesn’t scare me to have competition. The number of places attracts more people and there’s more people coming all the time. We still need hotel rooms and more shops.”
Murphy hopes to be in the new building by October or November. If not, he said, the family will have a booth on the property serving poboys to the Cruisin’ the Coast crowds in October.
Across the street from Dan B’s, the French Settlement was sold by its Colorado owners to developers Jim and Catherine MacPhaille of New Orleans. The couple also own the old Second Street school in Bay St. Louis, and they developed several houses on beachfront property near the Bay-Waveland Yacht Club as a weekend getaway for fellow New Orleanians.
The distinctive two-story French Settlement has a courtyard and alley access to Main Street. It currently has two tenants, the Bonner Collection downstairs and Green Canyon Outfitters upstairs.
The new owners are in talks with a restaurant to lease the remainder of the first floor.
The asking price on the 6,395-square-foot building and land was $1.5 million, according to John McDonald Realty’s website. The firm’s Regan Kane represented the MacPhailles in the purchase. Jeanne Baxter was the listing agent. The property had been on the market since September 2015.
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