Construction red-hot





On their way to a swimming pool at Cinnamon Shore South, guests staying at the subdivision stop to check out some of the construction happening there. At left is Mark McDonald, holding his daughter, Evelyn, 4. At right are Greta Mantooth with her sons, Ben, 11/ and Parker, 5. Behind Greta is her mother-in-law, Cindy Mantooth. All are from the Austin area. Dozens of houses are under construction at Cinnamon Shore South, reflecting the rapid pace of development happening in other parts of Port Aransas. This could become the busiest residential construction year in more than a decade. Staff photo by Murray Judson

On their way to a swimming pool at Cinnamon Shore South, guests staying at the subdivision stop to check out some of the construction happening there. At left is Mark McDonald, holding his daughter, Evelyn, 4. At right are Greta Mantooth with her sons, Ben, 11/ and Parker, 5. Behind Greta is her mother-in-law, Cindy Mantooth. All are from the Austin area. Dozens of houses are under construction at Cinnamon Shore South, reflecting the rapid pace of development happening in other parts of Port Aransas. This could become the busiest residential construction year in more than a decade. Staff photo by Murray Judson

We are going from a big year to one that might end up being even bigger.

While more residential building permits were issued last year in Port Aransas than in any of the previous 10 years, 2022 is looking like it could outdo 2021’s total, according to City Hall records.

In 2021, some 274 residential building permits were issued by Development Services at City Hall.

This year, as of Tuesday, May 17, a total of 139 building permits had been issued. And Development Services employees had a pile of building plans they still were evaluating for possible issuance of still more permits.

If this pace keeps up, more than 300 permits will be issued by the end of December.

It’s happening largely because of general growth throughout Texas, according to Chad Shimaitis, an active builder in Port Aransas.

Texas has a strong economy, and overall, people are doing well,” said Shimaitis, who, with Peter Young, is co-owner of UWC Builders.

Port Aransas is growing because “there is no other coastal community in Texas like this,” he said. “We have a nice beach town with good restaurants, good property. There is nothing comparable, not South Padre Island, not Galveston.”

Nicole Boyer, a planning assistant at Development Services at Port Aransas City Hall, looks through a stack of building plans that have been submitted to her department recently. Staff photo by Dan Parker

Nicole Boyer, a planning assistant at Development Services at Port Aransas City Hall, looks through a stack of building plans that have been submitted to her department recently. Staff photo by Dan Parker

Shimaitis said he is building a mix of homes for both full-time and part-time residents, largely in Planned Unit Developments (PUDs) like Palmilla Beach Resort and Golf Community and Sunflower Beach Resort & Residences. Some of his clients will rent their property, but others will not. He said about 65 percent of his clients intend to rent their homes.

“Many of my clients build a nice weekend home with no intention of renting it,” Shimaitis said.

It has been “by design” that his company has been as busy as it was last year. UWC Builders has taken on all the work it can handle and has a backlog.

“It’s not slowing down,” he said. “My phone is ringing more this year than last year.”

Cinnamon Shore South is proof of that.

Wood is cut with a chainsaw for construction of palapas on the grounds of Sailfish RV, which is under construction on 3.8 acres of land not far from the Port Street Subdivision. At last report, the site was to include 37 spaces for RVs, plus buildings for an office, club house and laundry. A swimming pool and pickle ball court also are expected. Staff photo by Dan Parker

Wood is cut with a chainsaw for construction of palapas on the grounds of Sailfish RV, which is under construction on 3.8 acres of land not far from the Port Street Subdivision. At last report, the site was to include 37 spaces for RVs, plus buildings for an office, club house and laundry. A swimming pool and pickle ball court also are expected. Staff photo by Dan Parker

There, 80 homes are in various stages of construction (some have just broken ground, some are in completion stages and some are complete), according to broker Jodi Peters. The infrastructure for about 150 homesites has just been completed. Construction of homes on about half of those sites will begin construction within the next year. All are single family homes, with no plans for townhomes or condominiums.

Greg Carr, asset manager at Palmilla Beach Resort and Golf Community, said 55 homes or townhomes are under construction now and another 65 will start in the next six months. A second resort pool will open this summer. Carr said Palmilla’s focus is on townhomes and single-family homes. They are not building condominiums because, he said, people are moving away from those types of vacation homes because of the costs involved in matters such as assessments and insurance.

Sunflower Beach Resort and Residences, off Beach Access Road 1, is seeing a lot of activity.

Workers paint a house under construction off Sunrise Avenue, in the Sunflower Beach development off Beach Access Road 1, on Saturday, May 21. Staff photo by Murray Judson

Workers paint a house under construction off Sunrise Avenue, in the Sunflower Beach development off Beach Access Road 1, on Saturday, May 21. Staff photo by Murray Judson

Kerry Huffstutter, sales agent at Sunflower Beach, said a variety of accommodations are under construction, including 21 one-story condos that will close in July, 44 cabins, four townhouses, 14 single-family homes. Construction will start in the next six months on seven townhomes, 21 condo units and 10 homes, she said. Lots are sold out.

Also busy is Nick Lorette, owner of Port Aransas Coastal Homes.

One of his projects is Sunrise Beach, where more than 100 houses are planned in the 5400 block of State Highway 361. He said he expects to begin construction there probably around August.

Part of the reason for growth in Port Aransas has to do with Californians moving to Texas, Lorette said.

“There’s just a tremendous amount of people that are leaving, on their own accord, Silicon Valley, and moving to the Hill Country’s Silicon Valley,” he said.

Lorette described a scenario he said he personally witnessed probably 10 times in Port Aransas .

“You have people 50 to 55 years old. They got right out of college, went to work in the Silicon Valley, Orange County … bought a starter home in California for $800,000 25 years ago,” Lorette said.

“They worked their butts off, raised their kids … they have a healthy 401K, they sell that entry level house for $2.3 million, and they go to Austin,” he said.

They buy a house in the Austin area and also have money left over for a second home in Port Aransas.

Trying to produce a tidy income by renting that second home out on a short-term basis isn’t their main goal, Lorette said.

“It’s a place to enjoy and make family memories,” he said. “That’s pretty much what I have seen.”

COVID-19 also has played into the busy construction climate, according to Lorette.

The pandemic has made a lot of people feel that they need to live their lives to the fullest, while they can, he said.

For some Texans living inland, that has meant buying a second home in Port Aransas.

“COVID woke them up and made them say, ‘We need to use some of our discretionary funds in a more pro-active, fun way,’” Lorette said.

Port A building projects listed

Source: City of Port Aransas Development Services

Source: City of Port Aransas Development Services

With Port Aransas in the midst of a development boom, it’s worth doing something of a construction count.

Following is a list of noteworthy construction projects that either are in progress or are in planning stages all over town. Information on the developments came from Port Aransas City Hall and from developers.

• Cinnamon Shore South – Eighty homes under construction.

• Palmilla Beach Resort and Golf Club – Fifty-five homes and townhomes under construction.

• Sunflower Beach Resort and Residences – Twenty-one condominiums, 44 cabins, four townhouses and 14 single-family homes under construction.

• Trojan Street CUD – Eight single-family residences.

• Port Street Subdivision – Developer Nick Lorette reports he has finished about 50 houses in the 115-lot neighborhood. About half a dozen are under construction.

• Palladium Port Aransas apartments –Continuing construction on 183 units eventually in the 2700 block of State Highway 361. Some residents have moved in to the first completed building in the complex; construction is continuing on other units.

• Sunrise Beach – More than 100 houses planned in the 5400 block of State Highway 361, between the highway and the beachfront Grand Caribbean condominium building and to the north of the building. Construction could begin about August.

• Port A Sip Yard – Proposed business development, corner of Alister Street and Cotter Avenue.

• Three-space retail/restaurant development are under construction by Clark family in the 500 block of North Alister Street.

• Beachway Bungalows – At 237 N. Station St., 12 houses are under construction.

• Houses are planned for about 10 lots at 12th Street and Dunes Drive.

• Ten-house residential development are being built with shipping containers, 1500 block of 11th Street.

• The Haven – Thirteen houses are under construction near the intersection of South Ninth Street and East Avenue I.

• Gibbs Cottages – Continuing restoration of historic cottages, 340 N. Alister St.

• Sonic – Restaurant under construction on State Highway 361, just north of the Dollar General store.

• Mango Cay Resort – Infrastructure work underway for construction of 28 townhomes on Avenue G at 11th Street.

• Sailfish RV Park – On Port Street. Site work underway to create 37 spaces for RVs.

• The Texan – Convenience store with indoor dining and gas pumps under construction on State Highway 361 at Beach Access Road 1A.

• Possible construction coming on about 23 acres on State Highway 361, just north of The Texan store. City Hall has received request for plat. No building plans submitted yet.

• Mahi Bay CUD – Houses under construction in the area of Paradise Pointe Drive.

• Merisol Village – Subdivision has new streets, other infrastructure on State Highway 361 just south of Mustang Boulevard; no building plans submitted yet to City Hall.

• Laguna Isles – Subdivision on State Highway 361, just south of Island Moorings.

• 5D Tavern — Scheduled to open after remodeling of the building that formerly housed Liberty Hall restaurant, 106 E. Cotter Ave.

• One Particular Harbor – A PUD proposed for area of 5200 block of State Highway 361. Residential, commercial development.

• Connor’s Condos — Condominiums planned for area behind Moore-McDonald Post 8967, which is at 311 N. Alister St.

• Eleven-unit residential development planned for corner of Oleander and Oakes streets.

• Condominium development planned for location where Woody’s Sports Center formerly operated at 136 W. Cotter Ave.

3 responses to “Construction red-hot”

  1. Trent Chastain says:

    The infrastructure will not hold up to that many new homes. The roads, sewer, water, our internet fails almost daily for a period of time. Hope the new council will address these issues. Im a commercial real estate broker and I can see whats coming. I hope the City and County make the developers participate in these costs and they dont become the burden of the existing homeowners.

  2. wdailey@northnet.org says:

    Dan, Vivian,
    Great article! Thank you.
    Will Dailey

  3. Becky says:

    Port Aransas is growing because “there is no other coastal community in Texas like this,“

    Keep it up… then Port Aransas will be just like every other coastal community in Texas. It’s already not like what it was even 10 years ago.

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