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Corpus Christi considers use of Harbor Bridge land

When the new Harbor Bridge is built and the old one (shown here) is removed, some 85 acres will be available for development between Whataburger Field and American Bank Center. Most will be owned by the city of Corpus Christi. Courtesy photo

When the current Harbor Bridge is finally taken down, a piece of waterfront property will open up as a developer’s dream. The conversation about what to do with that land became public at a Corpus Christi City Council meeting Jan. 9 when a Florida developer asked for $33,000 to help fund a feasibility study. The money represents one-third of the total cost of the $100,000 study. Other entities will be asked to pay the remaining cost.

Based in Orlando, IDEAS has partnered with resident Greg Perkes, an attorney and owner of the development firm PerkesWorks! Together, they propose turning the 85 acres between Whataburger Field and American Bank Center into a “riverwalk-like” area, similar to the one in San Antonio. Except, of course, the water involved here is part of Corpus Christi Bay.

To be called SEAtown, the area would include the entertainment features already active in the area: Whataburger Field, Brewster Street Ice House and Hurricane Alley Waterpark on one side of the bridge and the Art Museum of South Texas, American Bank Center, the Corpus Christi Museum of Science and History, Heritage Park and Harbor Playhouse on the other side.

The idea is to attract additional restaurants, galleries, shops and other entertainment venues to make the area pedestrian-friendly and a tourist draw.

Most of the property will be owned by the city once the bridge is down. Other sections belong to the Port of Corpus Christi, the Army Corps of Engineers, the Texas Department of Transportation and a handful of private owners.

Council member Carolyn Vaughn, who represents the district, was not receptive to IDEAS’s idea of asking local government entities for the money to fund their study.

“As a business owner, I would say if you don’t have $100,000 to start the process, why would I want to invest in that,” she said. “Why would I invest taxpayer money in that?”

She also did not want city staff to be involved as it would be a drain of resources for private benefit.

The council did not act on the proposal but said it would be put on a future agenda for further discussion.

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