“I think we’re going to be OK.”
The beachfront condo in the suburb of Corpus Christi is in the midst of a renaissance, as more people are flocking to the town.
Its owner, Robert Gull, was once the only person in town who could afford to rent out the condos, and he’s still paying for the rent, which he estimates at $3,000 a month.
The condo has also been home to a couple of the town’s top celebrities, including rapper Drake and reality star Kim Kardashian.
Now, Gull is working with the city on the development of a waterfront apartment complex with condos on top, which could bring up to 400 new residents a year.
Gull says he’s already heard from about a half-dozen potential developers, and the project could take about six years.
“This is going to create an enormous amount of jobs,” he says.
“The people that live here are the future of our city, and that’s a beautiful thing.”
For some, the project’s success isn’t a coincidence.
For many, the beachfront development could be the catalyst for a rebirth of Corpus-Christi’s waterfront.
“I’m not surprised at all that we’re seeing such a boom in the development, because it’s a really exciting development,” says Eric Fuchs, a Bay City resident and president of the Gulf Coast Bay Communities Council, which has been helping develop the area.
Fuchs says it’s time for the community to take a step back and reassess what they need to do to attract people back.
“We need to be more aware of what we have, what we need to preserve, what our economic base needs to be,” he adds.
“And I think the best way to do that is to not have the beach as a destination for people to go and be in the community.”
“The Bay is in trouble.”
Fuchs, who grew up in Corpus Christis and attended nearby Bayview College, says there are two main factors at play in the area’s beachfront redevelopment.
The first is a shortage of space, which is a concern in the region, where the area has the second-lowest density of homes.
The other is an economic recession, which started in 2014 and has slowed the recovery, with some residents saying they’ve lost their homes.
And while Fuchs says the development boom is going well, he says it is still not enough.
“We’ve seen that the development is going very well, but the recovery has not kept pace with it,” he explains.
“There’s still some very vulnerable areas, and they’re still being pushed out.”
Fuccus says it can take decades to restore the community’s beaches and reefs, which have seen a number of bleaching events in recent years.
And he says the new development would be the first step to restoring the reefs.
“It will allow us to be a better place, a better community, and we will be a healthier place,” he added.