The proposed $1.2 billion UMUSIC Broadwater hotel and casino in Biloxi became a lot more real Thursday when a timeline for construction and a vision of the amenities were disclosed.
Mayor Andrew “FoFo” Gilich said during a press conference at the Biloxi Visitors Center that the resort is expected to draw more than 2 million people a year to the city.
Construction on the waterfront resort on 266 acres along U.S. 90 is set to begin in 2021 and be finalized in 2023, said Robert Lavia, chairman of Dakia Global U-Ventures. The company is partnering with Universal Music Group, the largest music company in the world, to build UMUSIC resorts in Biloxi, Atlanta and Orlando.
Lavia said the Biloxi resort will bring:
1,150 hotel rooms
1,000 construction jobs
2,500 permanent jobs
12,000 seat entertainment venue
18-hole golf course and a new marina
Music-themed decor and celebrity restaurants
Lavia said he was releasing just enough details to inspire people while holding back some surprises.
“Wherever you look you’ll be wowed,” he said, and they also will have the security and the latest protocols to be prepared for whatever the next pandemic may be.
At the front and center of the hotel tower will be a soaring glass music venue, which Gilich said will be rated for 160 mph winds, a massive video board that Gilich joked people would be able to watch concerts from Ship Island, miles off shore.
The reason Biloxi and Mississippi were chosen as one the first three UMUSIC hotels is, “The rich, powerful music that has come from the region,” Lavia said.
“Mississippi is the birthplace of America’s music,” said Gov. Tate Reeves — BB King and the blues, Elvis and rock & Roll and Jimmy Rodgers and country, he said.
The investment of more than $1 billion and the 2,500 jobs is the kind of “bold projects” the state needs, he said. It will boost the state’s image, he said, and provide a life-changing investment its people.
Universal Music represents many of the biggest names in music that potentially could come to Biloxi.
“Our intention is to create a world class facility to bring some of the greatest talent, both regionally and internationally,” he said.
Lavia said the new resort also will use cutting edge technology like artificial intelligence and holograms to deliver entertainment.
Beyond the concerts, sporting events, fashion shows and other planned events, he said the developers plan more than amenities for visitors.
He said UMUSIC will provide incubator Incubator programs for those looking to create a career in the music business and help local entertainers, engineers and digital start-ups launch their careers. They also will buy food, artwork and furniture from local suppliers.
“From the minute you step in Biloxi you feel at home,” he said, and that Southern hospitality is what makes the developers so passionate about Mississippi and Biloxi.
“That warmth, that welcoming feeling is what both our national and international guests want to discover here,” he said.
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