Development to change skyline
The 500-unit high-rise condominium near Mustang Island State Park will be called Maravilla Del Mar, said Pat Walters, managing partner of Mustang Island Investment, LLC, a group of Wisconsin mortgage brokers who are the developers on the project. Plans call for the development to include three buildings, each more than 30 stories high.
David Underbrink, the project engineer, said the developers "are not interested in a total ban for traffic" on the beach in front of the development. The developers will seek to have bollards installed to limit traffic to an area near the dunes in the same style as beaches in Port Aransas, said Underbrink, who is with Naismith Engineering in Corpus Christi.
Walters, too, said he wants to see some sort of traffic control including some no-parking areas. But, he said, "we have no intentions of requesting a (vehicle) ban."
The development has a Web site: www.maravilladelmar.com. On one page of the site, it says:
"Reserve the most beautiful sunrises and sunsets that one can imagine at your own condominium resort on Mustang Island. Miles of gorgeous, private beach frontage and incredible panoramic views of the Gulf of Mexico await you."
Asked if the Maravilla Del Mar really will seek to make the adjacent beach "private," with only condominium owners and their guests allowed, Walters said the development will not do that.
Walters said the word "private" was "probably a typo, to be honest, or a misinterpretation by our marketing firm." He said he would have the word "private" removed from the Web page.
As envisioned, Maravilla Del Mar will consist of three buildings on about 23 acres of land just north of Mustang Island State Park, Underbrink said. The tallest building is expected to be 34 to 36 stories high, and the buildings on each side of that structure will be 32 to 34 stories, he said. That would make all three buildings higher than any building in Corpus Christi or the surrounding area, Underbrink said.
The tallest building at One Shoreline Plaza, which dominates the Corpus Christi skyline, is 28 stories.
"The reason (Maravilla Del Mar) is going up is, they're also including a lot of amenities outdoors that take up space, so they had to build up in order to allow that," Underbrink said. "They have three different swimming pools, one has a (large) slide for the kids, there's a big deck that goes along with those pools, places where you can sit outside and eat.
"This is a five-star resort, and it's meant to be a place where people can go, and they don't have to leave while they're there," Underbrink said. "Everything will be provided for them. There'll be spas, exercise rooms, restaurants, little shops where you can buy groceries, corner store-type shops."
Developers still must obtain a dune permit from the county and a building permit from the city, according to county and city officials.
The developer is seeking a building permit from the city of Corpus Christi because the development is planned for a portion of Mustang Island that is inside the Corpus Christi city limits.
Underbrink said the developers "are in the feasibility portion of the project. They are trying to make sure there are not bugaboos, no fatal flaws that will prevent them from developing. They're looking at permitting, how they can use the land, any constraints to that usage."
The developers are expected to close on the property in December,
Underbrink said. Walters confirmed that but would not say who the seller is other than to say the owner is from the Corpus Christi area.
Construction likely will begin in mid-2007, Underbrink said. Project officials hope to open the development for business in summer 2009, but sales of condo units might take place before that.
The development will include one- two- and three-bedroom condominiums. Total value: About $350 million, Underbrink said.
Asked how much the condominiums might cost, Walters said market studies have shown one-bedroom units could be "in the $400,000 range" and penthouses about $1.5 million.
Walters said plans for the development are much more than just talk.
"We have been in discussions with a number of very large national developers to work with to build this project," Walters said. "We have spent about a year and a half so far researching, getting approvals in place, invested a large amount of money, and we are very confident this structure will be built."
Underbrink said the dredging of Packery Channel was not the lynchpin for the decision to go forward with the project.
"The prices in Florida have gotten so high that the land and the cost to build (in the Coastal Bend) is much more reasonable, and I think that is what has brought people to this coast," Underbrink said. "Packery just happened to line up in the same time frame."
The Nueces County Commissioners Court is scheduled to consider a dune permit for the development during the court's regular meeting scheduled for Nov. 15.
Asked about his opinion of the planned Maravilla Del Mar, Commissioner Chuck Cazalas said, "I am hopeful that a reasoned development will occur on the island without developing into a Miami Beach or unduly disturbing wildlife habitat." Cazalas represents Precinct 4, which includes Port Aransas and the area where Maravilla Del Mar is planned.
Asked whether he thinks Maravilla Del Mar will be good or bad for Mustang Island, Cazalas said, "I think it's a huge development, and it will have an impact."
Nueces County Water Control and Improvement District No. 4 met with the developer earlier this year, said Mary Moss, district manager of the agency. The district has ample water and sewer services for the development, Moss said.
Walters said Mustang Island represents "a golden opportunity" for his development group.
"We've looked at a large number of projects," Walters said. "We've done a market study, and we specifically test marketed local to Texas and did some national surveys and received a very warm response to the project."