Plans for hotel in downtown Ocean Spr...

Plans for hotel in downtown Ocean Springs getting closer to reality

There are 13 comments on the The Mississippi Press story from Mar 28, 2013, titled Plans for hotel in downtown Ocean Springs getting closer to reality. In it, The Mississippi Press reports that:

Mayor Connie Moran said Thursday she is "optimistic" a planned 30-room boutique hotel in downtown Ocean Springs will become reality after receiving an email from developer Walker Thrash earlier this week.

Join the discussion below, or Read more at The Mississippi Press.

Real Truth

Eagle, ID

#1 Mar 28, 2013
Our Mayor has been nursing this project along. It probably won't be built. The property needs to be turned back to parking and the neighborhood be left alone.

Ocean Springs, MS

#2 Mar 29, 2013
As stated by others previously this project never did and never will cash flow.Even buy giving the property to the out of town developer it still will not work.The money used to purchase this property for parking belongs to the people so let the property be used to the benefit of the people.Give up on this boutique pie in the sky and get back to basics like much needed parking.
Watchful Eye

Washington, DC

#3 Mar 29, 2013
additional ?s

What happens if the hotel is unable to maintain 60% occupancy?
Does the lease fee go up?
What consitutes occupancy? A cash or credit rental of a room or a comp?
Why and How was the city to spend $286,000.00 on an Economic Development project that DID NOT already financing secured?
What is the occupancy rates of other local hotels?
Wake up People

Eagle, ID

#4 Mar 29, 2013
Mayor Moran rushed this project through with litte or no answers to the above questions. She was working hard to give the property away. One ony needs to enquire if she has received campaign contributions from the developers. Everything this women touches has a personal motive behind it. Wake up people and start asking questions. If you don't she will spend what little money the city has in emergency funds on this project and the shelter/gymnasium before you can say enough. It is time to retire Madam Mayor before we go broke.

Sioux City, IA

#5 Mar 31, 2013
You know from what a lot of people have said it doesn't sound like John McKay would be a good mayor but heck -- can he be worse than her? lol

They both sound about equally terrible from what you guys have said on here.

I agree with this. Downtown OS is way out of the way. Who knows maybe it will be a success. But even then even if its successful for the first 5 or so years what happens if the economy takes a nose dive?

Does the hotel return to city ownership?

If the guy puts up his own money for this I don't see a problem with it but from the convuluted way they've written this up it sounds like a scam or some kind of Walkeresque "good old boy" kickback scheme.

Just the way the deal is structured sounds fishy & flaky doesn't it? It sounds like one of those legal deals that might be legal on the borderline grey area but smells fishy.
Just Wondering

Eagle, ID

#6 Apr 1, 2013
Mayor Moran has a reputation for fishy smelling deals. The proposed hotel is nothing more than her giving away some more of your hard earned tax dollars to a developer who may be able to help fund her campaign for Mayor. There are other locations on highway 90 that would get much more traffic and would be a better business plan, but Mayor Moran doesn't control the parcels. I wonder if she would be so willing to give a piece of her property away that has been in her family for years?

Ocean Springs, MS

#7 Apr 1, 2013
Never loose sight of the fact that she can do nothing when it oomes to money without being given permission by the aldermen.Look at the minutes to see how many said yes.That is where the real responsibility for spending is. Look at who voted yes to appeal the Phycamore case to the next level even though they were told they could not win by the city attorney.This situation alone will cost the city hundreds of thousands before it is over by the time the taxpayers pay for legal fees,fines,damages,ect.How do these aldermen justify this?

Eagle, ID

#8 Apr 1, 2013
The focus once again is shifted. The Mayor is leading the charge for the hotel not the aldermen. Didn't she also get a large campaign contribution from the owner of the building that Psycamore was trying to lease? Thoght that $mall fact might have been overlooked. Everything the Mayor does is tied back to her own personal gain.

Ocean Springs, MS

#9 Apr 1, 2013
And the aldermen are hypnotized by her? Come on, be honest even though it is eletcion time.The Mayor is the person that someone would contact at the City.They all share the success or the failure of these types of developments when they vote to proceed.Phycamore is another issue that is a cost to the City due to fighting an issue that only the taxpayers lose on.

Eagle, ID

#10 Apr 1, 2013
Taxpayer wrote:
And the aldermen are hypnotized by her? Come on, be honest even though it is eletcion time.The Mayor is the person that someone would contact at the City.They all share the success or the failure of these types of developments when they vote to proceed.Phycamore is another issue that is a cost to the City due to fighting an issue that only the taxpayers lose on.
Some are and the other ones are lied to.
Just the Facts

Biloxi, MS

#11 Apr 6, 2013
Here is what I have learned: As part of a post-Katrina downtown revitalization grant, the City bought two parcels for improvements: one was the train depot parking lot, and the other was the abandoned Fallo cleaners site. Both were intended for parking or higher use. The city then obtained an environmental grant to clean up the contamination on the Fallo's site. All this was done long before the developers expressed an interest to the Board in building a hotel on the site, which would include 47 parking spaces to be built at developers' expense -- not the city's. So the city would get parking AND potentially a hotel. The Board conveyed the parcel to the chamber of commerce with a reversion clause that if the project was not underway within two years, it would go back to the city. This would give the developer time to secure financing and design and engineer the building.

The aldermen were also willing to offer the same tax abatement to the developer as to other commercial projects in town: a 7-year abatement of 80% of the city property tax (not school) so long as the occupancy rate was 60% on average. That is measured by the amount of 2% hotel tax generated annually by the hotel as reported to the city by the MS Dept of Revenue, not by looking at the guest register. Other local hotels, like Gulf Hills, run about 80% occupancy or higher.

The aldermen also wanted to make sure that once started, the structure would be completed, and that is also in the agreement with some guarantees, or else the developer must remove the unfinished structure. This paper trail is all public record, so anyone can see for themselves.

To say that the mayor "pushed this through" for her own personal gain is ludicrous. It was carefully crafted by the city attorney with input from all aldermen. The Pascagoula Redevelopment Authority obtains blighted properties and incentivizes new development all the time. Pascagoula also used some of its grant money to build a parking garage and a site to attract a hotel. This is a similar opportunity.

There are no "emergency funds" used for this project, and no general fund money to be used for the hotel. The mayor has NO AUTHORITY TO SPEND ANY FUNDS WHATSOEVER WITHOUT APPROVAL OF THE ALDERMEN IN ANY CASE.

The bloggers on this thread are misleading readers by stating otherwise. Seems to be spreading malicious likes that is politically motivated without understanding the facts or the process.

Sioux City, IA

#12 Apr 7, 2013
Just the Facts: you are partially correct. But let's remember Connie kept her thumb on the Planning Dept & various departments who probably "sexed up" the prospectus so the BOA would vote in favor of said bill.

I'm willing to keep an open mind though -- I do think this is going to end up a boondoggle within 5 years but as the saying goes "let's hope for the best."

So at this point its probably "a go" so go ahead & let's see what happens.
Watchful Eye

Washington, DC

#13 Apr 10, 2013
If the mayor has no Authority then why is she so Highly Paid 84k (as of 2010)

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