72-Acre Biloxi-Area Purchase Paves Way for 700,000SF Shopping Center

The development of The Promenade, a 700,000-square-foot power center in D’Iberville, Miss., has taken a big step forward now that project developers CBL & Associates Properties Inc. and Forum Development Group L.L.C. have acquired 72 acres in the Gulf Coast community. Located five miles from Biloxi and about 85 miles northeast of New Orleans, The Promenade will encompass 11 anchor tenants, in addition to 80,000 square feet of specialty shops and restaurants.Demand for premier retail offerings in the area is high, as the Gulf region continues its struggle to recover from the devastation brought on by Hurricane Katrina nearly three years ago. The Promenade, designed by the architectural firm of Phillips Partnership, is being developed to help revitalize the area. The joint venture has not revealed the price tag for the project, but the development cost will be defrayed by tax exempt bond funding via the Gulf Opportunity Zone Act.  The Promenade is one of a handful of commercial projects coming to the Biloxi area’s rescue. Harrah’s Entertainment Inc. has partnered with Jimmy Buffett to develop the $700 million Margarita Casino & Resort, which will include 250,000 square feet of retail constructed by Simon Property Group.  Another casino project, the RW Development’s proposed $800 million Gold Coast, would have about 130,000 square feet of high-end retail. As for The Promenade, EMJ Corp. is on board as general contractor for the project, and plans to commence construction sometime this month. Headquartered in Chattanooga, Tenn., CBL is one of the largest mall and shopping center developers in the country. The company holds interests in or manages 158 properties totaling 84.7 million square feet in 27 states. Additionally, CBL, whose stock opened at $26.97 today, presently has 15 projects under construction accounting for an aggregate 4 million square feet. Atlanta-based Forum is a private boutique development firm specializing in quality lifestyle retail projects, power centers and mixed-use developments.