Biloxi resort plans $140M amusement park and hotel tower

BILOXI, Miss. — The owners of the Margaritaville Resort Biloxi announced Thursday that they will move forward with a $140 million hotel expansion and amusement park after settling a lawsuit with state officials.

The current 371-room hotel was built as Casino Magic Biloxi. It was vacant for years after 2005’s Hurricane Katrina, but re-opened two years ago as a family-focused vacation destination without gambling.

Spokesman Cono Caranna of the Barrington Group said Thursday that the owner agreed to lease land from the state, paying more than $650,000 a year.

Caranna said expansion will include a second 300-room hotel tower and an elevated amusement park to go with the current extensive arcade, pool and indoor playground. He estimates the expansion will add 600 jobs.

“Post-Katrina, everything that was on the beach that was family-friendly didn’t come back,” he said, explaining the resort’s popularity. “Adding this to the mix added something that allowed families to come to the Mississippi Gulf Coast.”

The owners of the hotel were challenging the Mississippi Secretary of State’s office claim that the state owned some land south of the U.S. 90 beachfront highway. The city of Biloxi, the Biloxi school district and Harrison County were also challenging the claim. All those parties are dismissing their lawsuits, with Biloxi city spokesman Vincent Creel saying the developer agreed to relinquish its ownership claims to at least some disputed land.

The city of Biloxi had threatened to rezone the land to prohibit casinos, a move Hosemann said would make the lease less valuable for the state. The city didn’t do that and Hosemann said the Margaritaville lease includes a rent increase if the developer ever opens a casino on the site.

The same development group opened a second Margaritaville in a former casino hotel in Vicksburg on Saturday.

The Barrington Group also has redeveloped or is working on four other developments in Gulfport and Biloxi.

Just Posted

PHOTOS: Day 1 of the 2019 Canada Winter Games in Red Deer

Here’s a look at what happened during the first day of the… Continue reading

Calgarian takes gold in women’s speedskating

Brooklyn McDougall competed in long track 1,500-metre speedskating event

Speedskaters pick up Alberta’s first Winter Games medals

Calgary’s Brooklyn McDougall wins gold and Lethbridge’s Kaleb Muller wins silver

Red Deer gymnast hopes to flip his way to a personal best

Zach Blakely is looking forward to the ‘community’ aspect of Games

Youngest Alberta athlete at Red Deer’s Canada Winter Games focuses on the win

Emily Liu, 10, beats much larger table tennis players

VIDEO: Community ‘comes together’ at opening ceremonies

The nation will focus its eyes on Red Deer for the next… Continue reading

South African activists try to protect endangered pangolins

JOHANNESBURG — As World Pangolin Day is marked around the globe, Saturday,… Continue reading

Fourteen ‘dream’ homes ordered evacuated as sinkholes open in Sechelt, B.C.

Greg and Gerry Latham spent Friday morning scrambling to pack up family… Continue reading

Former B.C. premier Gordon Campbell accused of sexual assault: British newspaper

LONDON — A British newspaper says police in London are investigating an… Continue reading

Graham: U.S. should be stronger on Canadians detained in China

MUNICH — U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham said Friday the response by the… Continue reading

Conservative leaders to attend pro-pipeline rally in Saskatchewan

By Stephanie Taylor THE CANADIAN PRESS MOOSOMIN, Sask. — Federal Tory leader… Continue reading

Games athletes making themselves at home at RDC

Red Deer College’s campus will be home for the athletes during the 2019 Canada Winter Games

Alix resident captures beams of light near Lacombe

Lacombe, Blackfalds, Red Deer photos have since gone viral around the world

Welcome message from the mayor

On behalf of Red Deer city council, the City of Red Deer… Continue reading

Most Read