Franklin County Property Values Post-Dennis

You've heard the phrase, now investors along the Gulf Coast are coining it. The hurricane-battered area is beyond repair for some, leaving them little choice but to sell.

What looks like a badly battered shack is a seafood lover’s haven. It's called "The Hut," a restaurant from the 40s, a favorite among locals, and now a victim of Hurricane Dennis.

Robert Saker, owner, says, “The plate glass windows were braking, it just started coming apart real quick.”

It's a story heard all too often these days, a 10-foot storm surge wipes out the lifeline of Franklin County, seafood processors and seafood retailers.

Alan Pierce, Franklin County planner, says, "The people want to rebuild and the county is doing everything it can to get people back in business."

Back in business isn't an option for those hit worst by the storm, fishermen too poor to rebuild, uninsured and out of work. That's where investors step in.

Doris Pendleton, a Franklin County property appraiser, says, "When I came into office five years ago the tax base was $800 million, now it's $3.3 billion. It's a big increase, we've been found."

And the biggest money maker is along the water, a place where fishermen built a foundation they've been fighting developers to keep.

But Dennis’ wrath came unexpectedly, leaving folks with few options, either sell or rebuild.

Damage assessments are still underway in Franklin County. The property appraiser’s office wants residents to call them if they haven't seen a county official on their property.