City seeing new developments in works

Published 5:22 pm Thursday, October 18, 2007

A Holiday Inn Express and several new residential and commercial developments are planned for construction in the Picayune area.

Tentatively in spring 2009 Picayune will have a new Hotel chain touting an exercise area and indoor swimming pool. Another branch of Bank Plus and a residential and commercial area will also be built near Hide-A-Way Lake, but no tentative date for the new Bank Plus construction is available yet.

Developer Tom Sanders said he has sold between seven and eight acres of property behind the Bank Plus and Dominoes Pizza on Memorial Boulevard that will be used to construct the Holiday Inn Express.

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An acre and a half of that property will be used to construct the new hotel. It will have all the functions of other Holiday Inn locations, but will not have a full restaurant, Sanders said.

Caroline Sanfilippo Coordinator Corporate Communications for InterContinental Hotels Group confirmed a franchise location of Holiday Inn Express will be built in Picayune, but will not be owned by IHG. The new hotel is expected to open in the spring of 2009 and will have 68 rooms on three floors. An indoor pool, business center and fitness center will also be in the hotel, she said.

Other businesses are slated to build in the remaining acreage, but Sanders could not specify which ones since negotiations are still under way. He did say that one possible buyer was an unnamed restaurant chain.

“The only thing set in stone is Holiday Inn,” Sanders said.

Other commercial ideas may take place with the remaining acreage.

“I’d like to put up an office building cause there’s a real shortage of office space in Picayune,” Sanders said.

The main entrance to the development should come off of Memorial Boulevard and a tear down of an old building on that road will grant that access. An emergency access road will connect to Blanks Avenue.

That emergency access road caused a stink in Tuesday’s city council meeting as they tabled a request for a variance to allow for several parking spaces to be changed in size to accommodate 72 parking spaces. That request was denied after the council discussed the emergency exit that leads onto Blanks Ave., a road in dire need of widening and other renovation work to handle the extra traffic, said councilman Donald Parker in the meeting. The matter will be discussed again at their next meeting scheduled for Nov. 6, at 6 p.m. in the council chambers.

The final plat of the Holiday Inn was approved by the council in a previous meeting and construction of infrastructure should start within the month, Sanders said.

Sanders said another development, this one residential and commercial, is also underway. It will be built next to Hide-A-Way Lake and the residential area will be called Beau Jardin, which means beautiful garden, he said. Garden homes and condos on small lots will offer a maintenance free yard since that work and other everyday maintenance needs will be taken care of by the developer, Sanders said. The development will cater mostly to retirees, empty nesters and single people.

“It’s primarily for people who want to enjoy the home without the hassle,” Sanders said. “People my age want to enjoy their home and not have a heart attack out there mowing the lawn.”

Price ranges will be between $200,000 to $300,000 for 1,700 to 2,400 square foot homes with three to four bedrooms.

Some commercial development is slated to be built next to those garden-style homes. Sanders said he is talking to people in the medical, professional and retail fields about building in the commercial development. Electricity for those developments next to Hide-A-Way Lake will be underground. The area was approved for annexation into the City of Picayune in April of 2006, Sanders said.

Bank Plus also bought a spot of land near Hide-A-Way Lake where they plan to build a new branch, Sanders said. Bank Plus president Steve Lawler confirmed a new branch will go next to Hide-A-Way Lake.

“It’s going there, I just don’t know when,” Lawler said.