On the grow
"Building (in the commercial sector) seems to have slowed down, but we're still pretty busy," said Port Aransas Building Official Joe Lamb.
"We've got a lot of new houses (under construction) that came through (the permitting process) in October. From all indications from builders, they're coming in for permits," Lamb added.
The housing market is slowing down across the country, "but we're pretty busy for a town of 3,000. We're far busier than other places around the country. I hear nothing is selling, but we're building," Lamb said.
Most of the homes are custom homes, as opposed to speculative homes, and most are "high end" homes, according to Lamb, who estimated that there are between 50 and 60 homes under construction all over town.
In the commercial sector, several old buildings have been torn down to make way for new construction.
The building that housed Scott's Car Care at the corner of Alister and Oakes streets has been demolished. In its place will be a brew pub and restaurant with a gas station theme based on the building's original purpose.
The old White Marlin shopping center at the corner of Cotter Avenue and Cut-off Road has been leveled. Owners are considering another shopping center, but have not applied for a building permit as yet.
This week, Realtor Mark Grosse tore down the old shell shop on Cotter Avenue between the South Jetty newspaper office and Oceans of Seafood to make way for a new office building. No permit for that had been applied for as of early this week.
St. Joseph Catholic Church is also building a new structure on Station Street, Lamb noted.
Proposed projects start with David Parsons, the city's director of planning and projects.
"We've seen a big slow-down in large subdivisions. Those have stopped," Parsons said, referring to proposals coming in to his office.
The only active newer subdivision is Cinnamon Shore, Parsons said.
He anticipates activity to remain "status quo" through the winter. Meanwhile, Parsons' staff will be rewriting the city's subdivision and development chapters for zoning, and that work will continue into the spring.
Parsons said he does not anticipate any major changes in either document.
"It's not a huge rewrite. It's a lot of 'cleaning house'. There are a lot of hodge-podge fixes that need to be melded together," he said.
Beyond that, Parsons said he has no word on any major projects coming up on the horizon.
"It would be great to see the (golf cart overpass on State Hwy. 361) for the golf course, and to see Cinnamon Shore get some sales and the golf course get started," Parsons said.
The Texas Department of Transportation has approved the golf cart overpass for the golf course. The overpass will be a 147-foot free-span structure with a clearance of 21' 9", according to Jim Urban of Urban Engineering. Construction is the responsibility of the golf course developers. Sunny Castor, a partner in Texas Gulf & Harbor, Ltd., which is developing the golf course, said construction contracts on the overpass should be signed this week or next week.
Meanwhile, major construction projects announced earlier this year continue to progress. Turn to Pages 7, 9 and 10B for updates, with photos, on those projects.