Developer seeking tax relief in Ocean Springs

OCEAN SPRINGS, Miss. (WLOX) — A year from now, land-use consultant Donovan Scruggs said a building in downtown Ocean Springs would look very different.

“You’re going to double the footprint and you’re going to double the customer intensity with hotels on the top floor and a restaurant and bar on the ground floor,” Scruggs said. “You will see a substantial increase in overall sales tax revenue.”

However, since the developer bought the old building from Chandeleur Outfitters last year, it says construction costs have risen by more than 25% in some cases, along with interest rates. He is now set to seek tax relief from the city on Tuesday.

“There have been a number of difficulties the developer has encountered since the purchase in August last year,” Scruggs added. “So it’s an avenue that he hopes will free up some of the constraints of those additional hurdles.”

The tax allowance only concerns the improved part of the building. Currently, the building is valued at around $100,000.

“So if the developer decides to invest $2-3 million in this building, it will only reduce 80% of the new part,” Scruggs explained. “The part that was there before the upgrade, the $100,000, is going to stay in place and we’ll continue to pay taxes on that.”

Scruggs said the developer expects the design portion to be completed later this summer, with construction starting as early as this fall.

“It’s a very pro-business town and we’re looking to do something very pro-Ocean Springs,” he said. “The Ritchey Building across the street received this same tax abatement just a few years ago. All we really ask is what the College of Aldermen has approved on many other occasions.

Ocean Springs Mayor Kenny Holloway told WLOX that he does not support the tax abatement because downtown Ocean Springs is not an urban development area. He added that the decision would be up to the college of aldermen.

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