Ocean Springs officials in negotiations with developer to bring old Allman's property to life

Wanted to share with you this interesting article from the Mississippi Press.  Porter Avenue keeps growing! 

By Warren Kulo

Updated Aug 24, 12:37 PM; Posted Aug 24, 12:21 PM

This property near the foot of the Biloxi-Ocean Springs Bridge, known to many as the "Allman's property," may soon be the site of a new development if negotiations between the City of Ocean Springs, the owner and a potential developer are successful. (Warren Kulo/The Mississippi Press)

OCEAN SPRINGS, Mississippi -- It's been sitting vacant for 18 years and virtually unused for decades, but if negotiations between Ocean Springs city officials, the property owner and a developer are successful, the old Allman's restaurant property near the foot of the Biloxi-Ocean Springs Bridge may become the site of a new development.

Ocean Springs alderman Rickey Authement, who represents that area of the city, confirmed to The Mississippi Press Friday that the City is in the very early stages of negotiations regarding the property.

Recently, there has been work done to clear the property, leading to widespread speculation that something may be in the works.

If fruitful, the negotiations could result in a public-private partnership which would involve a mixed use development on the site and a public boat launch along the waterfront portion of the property, just north of the bridge.

"We're still very early in the process," Authement said. "The man who owns the property wanted the City to buy it and do something with it. Of course, we didn't have the money and didn't want to borrow money to buy it."

The property is known to many longtime residents as the "Allman's property" because of the Allman's Restaurant which was located there for many years. After the restaurant shut its doors in the 1980s, the building remained vacant until the mid-1990s, when realtor Loris Bridge acquired the property in hopes of developing a marina complex on the site.

Those plans never materialized however, and in 2004 the old restaurant building was demolished.

Authement said he does not know who the owner of the property is or the name of the developer, but has been communicating with a local realtor who is representing the owner.

"We have a meeting next week and I think we'll have more details then," he said. "What it comes down to and we can make it work with the boat launch, they'd like to make it a public-private venture.

"I think it would be good for the city. Having a boat launch there would relieve some of the problems with larger boats trying to get down into the (Ocean Springs) harbor."

Authement said the City's involvement would be in the form of acquiring a long-term lease for the waterfront portion of the property for construction of the boat launch -- something he noted former Mayor Connie Moran had tried to do during her tenure.

One possibility floated for the property -- a hotel.

"That's true. That idea has been discussed," Authement acknowledged. "But there are some concerns about it being located right next to the railroad tracks. Again, it's still in the early stages. In order for us to make some decisions, they're going to have to bring us some clear details on paper.

"We're still a ways off as far as having some solid commitments."