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Buyer of Mississippi’s Gulfshore facility agrees to no gamblingcomment (0)

January 3, 2008

The Mississippi Baptist Convention Board has voted to move forward on a developer’s $18 million offer to purchase the property that served as the home of Gulfshore Baptist Assembly before being destroyed by Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

Developer Douglas Johnson of Mandeville, La., submitted a letter of intent on behalf of NewTrac East LLC to purchase the property for a multiuse, multimillion-dollar project he plans to name Gulfshore Point.

Messengers to the 2006 annual meeting of the Mississippi Baptist Convention voted to accept a committee’s recommendation to sell the property, with the stipulation that the owners would not build a casino or any gambling-related businesses on the property.

Johnson emphasized in a meeting with the convention board’s executive committee prior to the board’s Dec. 4 vote that he agreed with the no-gambling stipulation and said he planned to preserve the history of the property in special ways, including building a chapel to commemorate Gulfshore Assembly.

Henderson Point, where Gulfshore Assembly had been located on the eastern shoreline of the Bay of St. Louis, was settled in the mid-1800s by local attorney John Henderson, whose name was eventually attached to the property. By the 20th century, a resort named The Inn by the Sea had been opened there. A few years prior to World War II, the federal government purchased the property from the owners and built the U.S. Merchant Marine Cadet Basic School. The training facility was closed shortly after World War II. Mississippi Baptists purchased the property from the federal government in 1958 and named it Gulfshore Baptist Assembly.

Mississippi Baptists utilized the Merchant Marine barracks and other buildings for the assembly until Hurricane Camille wiped it out in 1969. A state-of-the-art facility with hurricane-resistant features was rebuilt on the property, but Katrina’s massive winds and waves destroyed everything except the main building’s superstructure. (BP)

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