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Ed Rachal Foundation buys Mount Carmel in Corpus Christi

Mount Carmel assisted-living home, 4130 South Alameda Street in Corpus Christi, closed in 2017. It was recently sold to the Ed Rachal Foundation, which intends to demolish the Spanish mission-style building. Courtesy photo

The Ed Rachal Foundation has purchased yet another historic and iconic property in Corpus Christi: the former Mount Carmel assisted-living home, which closed in 2017. Three acres of the property, where the 57,000-square-foot building sits at 4130 South Alameda Street, will be deeded to Ronald McDonald House. The building itself, which was designed to look like a Spanish mission, will be demolished.

The 66-year-old building is not the only structure to face a wrecking ball after purchase by the Ed Rachal Foundation. The nonprofit, which was set up in the will of Falfurrias farmer Ed Rachal Jr., who died in 1964, plans to tear down a home on Ocean Drive commonly known as the Castle House. The foundation plans to build high-end, multi-family townhomes at the location.

Already gone is the historic Hacienda Records and Beverly buildings on South Staples Street at Six Points. The Ed Rachal Foundation bought the two properties for $500,000.

The foundation submitted a proposal earlier this year to buy the Old Nueces County Courthouse for $1.5 million in back taxes. It offered to pay for demolition of the building as well, which county commissioners decided against in February.

The foundation also has publicly discussed bidding on Christus Spohn Memorial Hospital, which is currently for sale and due to be torn down in 2020. Christus Spohn built a new community clinic in the neighborhood and moved most of its other services to its new tower at Christus Spohn Shoreline. Only the mental health unit remains but is expected to move soon to the downtown location.

Also purchased within the past 18 months by the Ed Rachal Foundation is Frost Bank Plaza, which went on the bankruptcy auction block in 2018. That building is being restored.

Mount Carmel was built in 1953. Owned and operated by the Carmelite Sisters of the Divine Heart of Jesus, it was the only assisted-living center in Corpus Christi until 1997. The Sisters closed the facility after deciding renovation would be too costly.

After the 30 remaining residents were relocated to new homes, the final eight nuns left Corpus Christi. The Carmelite Sisters had served the Diocese of Corpus Christi for 92 years.

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