OTHER OPINION: Mixed use often is best use

By Sun Herald, Biloxi/Gulfport

One of the most appealing aspects of the cities along the Coast is their human scale. That’s why we like developer Billy Legier Jr.’s recently unveiled Long Beach Towne Center.
The new mixed-use development is located in the core of downtown Long Beach on Jeff Davis Avenue, which itself is one of the most attractive streetscapes in South Mississippi.
Legier’s retail/residential complex features four business spaces on the ground floor and four luxury apartments on the upper floor of buildings surrounding a central courtyard.
It has a coastal cottage atmosphere.
And it may grow.
Legier is working on plans for a retail village to be built behind this first phase.
“We are very excited to be part of the incredible revitalization of downtown Long Beach,” Legier said.
We’re excited for him. And for Long Beach.
While the city’s waterfront commercial properties have remained empty since Hurricane Katrina, just a few blocks inland the city is flourishing.
Again, Jeff Davis Avenue was designed for strolling and it is only a matter of time before there are even more reasons to amble up or down its sidewalks from the railroad tracks to Beach Boulevard.
The Coast is blessed with such amenities for residents and visitors alike. Pleasant and profitable concentrations of shopping and entertainment venues are being restored or developed in most of our communities.
What we would especially like to see is more housing units added to the mix. This, we believe, would make staying on or coming to the Coast even more appealing for young professionals, a slice of our population that places a particular premium on the quality and diversity of life that is readily available.
And it doesn’t always require millions and millions of dollars to put building sites in our cities to good use.
Less money better spent can also produce pleasant and profitable results.

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