On the Waterfront: First commercial build on Bay’s beach side since Katrina
By Dwayne Bremer
Mar 1, 2013, 19:14
Developer Thomas Genin began construction on a new restaurant/bar on the waterfront side of Beach Blvd. in Bay St. Louis this week, much to the surprise of many in the community.
The new business, which has yet to be named, is being built at the site of the old Dock of the Bay restaurant at 119 North Beach Blvd.
It is the first business to be constructed on the beach side of the road since Hurricane Katrina.
Prior to Katrina, restaurants on the beachfront such as the Dock of the Bay, the Good Life, and Dan B's were a vital part of Bay St. Louis' unique nightlife.
Genin said Friday he hopes the new development will bring a little of that style back.
Genin said he plans to construct a 1,400 square-foot building that will serve as both a restaurant and bar.
"We are going to be building a small, casual bar with great food," he said.
On Thursday and Friday, construction crews installed pilings for the building. Genin said he hopes to have the floor system installed by Monday.
"We are moving quickly and would like to be open by mid-April," Genin said.
City leaders said Friday they like the idea of development on the beachfront.
"I think it's going to be good for the city," Ward Five Councilman Joey Boudin said. "I think it will help all of the businesses down there."
Genin, who is listed as the property owner on city building permits, acquired a permit for the building's foundation on Feb. 20.
According to city officials, the business was not required to go through a planning and zoning commission hearing since it was a "by-right" use and less than 5,000 square-feet.
The property is located just outside the city's historical district, so it did not require a hearing before the city's historic preservation committee, either, Mayor Les Fillingame said Friday.
Genin, who was formerly involved with Shaggy's in Pass Christian, said he has developed five waterfront properties in recent years.
He said the new restaurant will be a plus to the community.
"I think it's going to mean a lot to Bay St. Louis," he said. "People want to be by the water."
Genin said he hopes to expand the project after the city resolves issues with set backs and the seawall.