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Promise of roadwork moves Biloxi's ninth casino closer to construction


BILOXI, Mississippi — The Biloxi City Council has approved Mayor Andrew "FoFo" Gilich's plan for connecting the last length of the road around East Biloxi that will allow the city's ninth casino to move forward.

The Sun Herald reports (http://bit.ly/1OkB3cb) Chris Ferrara showed designs of Biloxi Pointe Casino he and his team of investors want to build off Eighth Street in East Biloxi Tuesday and described the amenities that are part of the $260 million resort. He said they plan a casino, large convention and entertainment center, hotel, shops,

Ferrara said the commitment from the city to build the last part of the road from Back Bay Boulevard down Pine Street to U.S. 90 is needed to get the financing.

"Investors like this market," said Jeff Hartmann, founder and chief executive officer for the proposed resort. He told the council members that if they approve the agreement to build the road, the $7 million the Biloxi Point developers have committed will be there.

Before any work on the road is done, the agreement requires the casino developers to close on the $260 million for the project.

"When we present the money," Ferrara said of the $7 million, "that's when the road work starts."

The last part of the loop is estimated to cost $22 million, said Ferrara, with $5 million from the Mississippi Development Authority, $7 million from the casino developers and $9 million from Biloxi.

City Attorney Gerald Blessey said the city already is looking at sources of funding that possibly could include tax increment financing for the area, although not for the casino that would get a 7-year tax abatement for putting up the money for the road.

Ferrara said the loop will bring economic development not just to the casino but back to East Biloxi.

"The road is the key," said Councilman George Lawrence.

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