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

WATCH: Red Deer’s noxious weeds are a goat’s dietary delight

Piper Creek Community Garden gets chemical-free weed control

Get your guilty pleasures: Westerner Days food

Traditional sugary treats were served up by the plate, bowl and bucket… Continue reading

Centrefest brings feats of daring to Red Deer’s downtown

Fundraising was a tough slog, but it came together in the end

Count shows slight decrease in Red Deer’s homeless

In two years, the number of homeless in Red Deer has decreased… Continue reading

Redoing hip surgeries are costly, says new study

Redoing hip and knee replacements costs Canada’s health system $130 million a… Continue reading

WATCH: Cirque ZUMA ZUMA puts on a show at Westerner Days

ZUMA ZUMA performs three times a day during Westerner Days

PHOTOS: Red Deer’s Iron Buffalo rocks Westerner Days

Iron Buffalo opened for Helix and Lee Aaron Thursday at the ENMAX Centrium

Zuckerberg’s Holocaust comment puts Facebook on the spot

NEW YORK — Denying the Holocaust happened is probably OK on Facebook.… Continue reading

Brazilian police arrest ‘Dr. Bumbum’ after patient dies

RIO DE JANEIRO — Brazilian police have arrested celebrated plastic surgeon Denis… Continue reading

Canadian marijuana company Tilray has first US pot IPO

SEATTLE — A Canadian company is the first marijuana business to complete… Continue reading

Dolphins anthem punishment includes suspensions

Miami Dolphins players who protest on the field during the national anthem… Continue reading

Soy “milk” makers may need to find alternative description

NEW YORK — Soy and almond drinks that bill themselves as “milk”… Continue reading

Calgary woman convicted in son’s strep death granted day parole

CALGARY — A woman whose son died after she failed to take… Continue reading

Greenpeace members arrested for climbing Olympic Stadium tower in Montreal

MONTREAL — Several Greenpeace members climbed the outside of the Olympic Stadium… Continue reading

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month