Demolition of old Margaritaville site going smoothly - WDAM - TV 7 - News, Weather and Sports

Demolition of old Margaritaville site going smoothly

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BILOXI, MS (WLOX) -

The sound of jack hammers and a wrecking ball now echo across the site of the old Margaritaville casino project. Grand Casino Biloxi is clearing that property to make way for a new entertainment venue.

Many folks considered that abandoned construction site one of the biggest eyesores on the coast, but it is coming down now rather quickly. In fact, the demolition team should have the site cleared by sometime this summer.

Demolition must certainly be easier than construction. At least it appears that way with a 10,000 pound wrecking ball, giant jackhammers and powerful track hoes doing the work.

"Drop a wrecking ball and separate the concrete from the rebar," said Jason Wold with Yates Construction as he explained the process.

"At that point, we bring in smaller equipment to jackhammer the bottom of the columns, which we're going to salvage and give to DMR so they can add on to their Katrina reef."

Not only will 500 concrete columns be re-purposed by helping expand the nearby fishing reef south of Deer Island, but tons of concrete and steel from the tear down will also be re-used.

"The concrete will be recycled, broken up into smaller pieces and be used in other projects. The steel will be recycled for future steel fabrication."

The demolition began last month. About a dozen workers and ten pieces of equipment are staying busy taking down the old eyesore.

"I would guesstimate that we're going to be in the 12,000 to 15,000 cubic yards of concrete that will be hauled off and 500 columns that will be donated to the Department of Marine Resources."

"We are very pleased with the progress. Yates has been a great partner with us. We're excited, but we've got a lot of work to do on this site," said Kennedy Smith, the Vice President of Marketing for Grand Casino Biloxi.

If the demolition remains on schedule, by this summer the Grand can begin replacing the eyesore with something more attractive and inviting.

"A very large green space to have multi function use, whether it be concerts or festivals or anything that we can go ahead and do on this large space that's directly across from our property of Grand Biloxi," said Smith.

The creation of that green space and boardwalk is just one part of Grand Biloxi's expansion and improvement plans. The casino resort also plans to add new restaurants, upgrade the pool deck and renovate hotel rooms.

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