A plan to develop a vacant lot on Beach Boulevard in downtown Gulfport received final city approval. The Beach Boulevard building, when done, will offer rentals and retail space.
Gulfport City Council, acting in its role as Gulfport’s Community Redevelopment Agency, approved an application for a mixed-use two-story building adjacent to BoTiki, with a plan to connect the two structures.
The Guenther family owns both properties; they have already renovated the building that currently houses BoTiki.
“The building will actually physically touch the existing structure that is there, with fire separation,” said Joe Guenther, the applicant.
This was attempted about a year ago, with plans drawn up to keep the same elevation on the new building as the slab at BoTiki in the event they might one day be connected, according to Guenther. That was not successful because of Federal Emergency Management Agency regulations.
“We ran into a roadblock with floodproofing,” said Guenther. “We got a new engineer and a new architect, and drew up a new plan which raises that slab to meet the FEMA flood zone requirement.”
What will the new Beach Boulevard building have?
The new building on Beach Boulevard will have retail space on the ground floor along with three residential units above it. The drawings submitted to the City showed an arcade-style building that Guenther said ties in with “Gulfport’s charm and quaintness.”
The site will have 10 parking spaces in the back. City Manager Jim O’Reilly noted that Guenther received a parking variance from the Board of Adjustment.
When asked about the specifications for the downstairs commercial space, Guenther said that would be built to suit. “We will research that and find the highest and best use for it, and build accordingly.”
As for the construction schedule once approval was granted, Guenther said he would be “looking to submit for permitting right away.”