GAUTIER, Miss. -- The demolition of Singing River Mall is underway.
A champagne toast kicked off demolition of 390,000 square feet of leasing area on Wednesday.
Morrison Companies is the developer of the mall and owner Shane Morrison said the company will invest $40 million into a new $90 million project.
Melton Redding, Morrison Companies' director of acquisitions and development, said he expects the demolition to be completed by the end of the year and Wal-Mart to begin construction immediately afterward.
The Gautier Town Commons will be on U.S. Highway 90 at the Singing River Mall site. It will comprise an open-air mall and festival grounds.
The Sun Herald reported (http://bit.ly/1dDpA24 ) the new area will house 380,000 square feet of retailers. It will create about 200 full- and part-time jobs.
"We've had a lot of success in smaller communities," Morrison said. "We saw a need for retailers between Ocean Springs and Pascagoula and the community support was outstanding in wanting to redevelop the mall."
During the mall's demolition, City Manager Samantha Abell said, the town green will be developed. She said it is in the design stages now and the tributaries in the area will be restored with grant funding in the next step of the project.
The City Council approved the development in March 2013 in hopes of bringing retailers, restaurants, office buildings and parking areas to Gautier.