Developers confident in $300M resort on Miss. lake

Two Florida developers are confident they’ll get final approval for a $300 million resort on the scenic Bay Springs Lake in northeast Mississippi.

Developers Kristine and Doug Martel presented their plans for the 1,500-acre property to state and area officials Monday.

The Sarasota, Fla.-based developers await final approval from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for a 50-year lease on the publicly owned property.

Amenities on the 6,700-acre lake would include a hotel and conference center, resort cottages, an RV park, a marina with wet slips and dry storage and golf courses. The sprawling, deep-water lake on the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway has 133 miles of shoreline and two white sand beaches.

“We still have some requirements we have to satisfy for the Corps,” Kristine Martel said. “But we’re doing things in a parallel path so we’ll be ready when the final lease is signed.”

Gov. Haley Barbour signed the bill this past week giving the property resort status under state law, which permits alcohol sales in the resort area of the dry county.

“The resort status just puts the property on an even playing field with other resorts people can choose to go to,” Doug Martel said.

Doug Martel said the resort will be built over a number of years “as the market will absorb it.”

“The site is perfect,” he said. “The Corps of Engineers has looked after the property for 25 years and done an excellent job.”

The resort could also create jobs for up to 1,100 people and a payroll of almost $33 million when the project is complete.

Officials are working with Northeast Mississippi Community College, Itawamba Community College and Mississippi State University in an attempt to align some of their training programs such as culinary arts and hospitality management with career choices that will be available at the resort.



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