Hundreds of construction workers took a long lunch Friday to celebrate the topping out at Jimmy Buffetts Margaritaville Casino & Restaurant in Biloxi.
This first party at Margaritaville was marked with barbecue and a pine tree, a traditional symbol when a building is topped out -- usually when the highest beam is put in place. That happened weeks ago, but the crews, who also were celebrating no serious injuries on the job, kept working and focused on a May completion. The resort will open the week of May 20.
Bob Kelly of Innovation Project Development in Ocean Springs, the owners representative, said 200 to 300 trades workers are on the job at any time and most are local. Roy Anderson Corp. of Gulfport is general contractor and the three major subcontractors are Aladdin Construction of Biloxi, Haynes Electric of Gulfport and MCC Group from New Orleans. Kelly said the company working on the volcano for Margaritaville is from Wisconsin, but hired a local crew.ććžć°ć: Jimmy Buffett Info http://www.buffettinfo.com/front-page-news/4915-biloxi-margaritaville-s-first-party-topping-out.html#post6386
Margaritaville Biloxi CEO Tom Brosig said a core staff of about 25 people are preparing for the casino opening. I think the intense hiring will start in April, he said.
The building is 90 percent dried in and the interior is 90 percent framed, said Kelly, who helped build the Grand Casinos along with senior project manager Dennis Beaudrie. Kelly said he also is managing the rebuilding of Fifth Street leading to the casino. Sidewalks, lighting and landscaping from Oak Street will provide an iconic entrance and a sense of drama before customers even arrive, he said.
The building is raised 24 feet and the porte-cochere will be underneath. When customers get off the escalator near the middle of the building, Margaritaville restaurant will stretch across the front with a wall of windows facing the Back Bay and a dining deck providing outdoor seating. A volcano that erupts into a blender of margaritas, an airplane hanging from the ceiling and shrimp boats are part of the decor and the experience.
Roy Anderson said both an interior decorator and a theme interior designer work with his company. That brings the Margaritaville look to the project, he said.
In the center of the building is a 28,000-square-foot casino that will have 821 slot machines and 18 table games. A 5 oclock Somewhere bar will open to both the casino and the 900-seat entertainment venue that will double as overflow space for the buffet. Balconies, which can be used for meetings and parties, rim three sides of the entertainment space.
Outside, a 360-foot wooden boardwalk will link the floating marina, tiki hut, outdoor pavilion and food trucks.
Brosig said he is holding back some surprises for the opening of Margaritaville. The Coast is a festival community, he said. This will be fun.
Anderson said crews are working six or seven days a week for the mid-May opening. We will be done, he said, and get this important project open on the Gulf Coast.