Land around Schlitterbahn was auctioned off for $9 million and nearby business owners worry the uncertain future of the property and the water park could impact their bottom lines.
Small business owners say they got more customers when Schlitterbahn came to town and drew tourists.
Those business owners depend on tourism, and want to see the land around Schlitterbahn still be developed.
PADRE ISLAND -
The land that Schlitterbahn's developers hoped to turn into a riverwalk-style attraction now has a new owner, and in a matter of month's the Corpus Christi water park and resort may also have new ownership.
Today 270 acres of the Schlitterbahn development project went for just $9 million. It was auctioned off at the Nueces County Courthouse.
The property had been in foreclosure since May, and up until today it was owned by a now bankrupt entity called Upper Padre Island Partners. Austin-based Axys Capital is the new owner. It is also the company that financed the property in the first place.
It may not be the last foreclosure auction involving the Schlitterbahn project. The International Bank of Commerce asked a bankruptcy judge for permission to foreclose on the waterpark and resort, last month. Other news outlets are reporting that a judge approved that plan, yesterday. KRIS 6 News has not yet independently confirmed those details.
For now, the future of the water park and the development on the land around it is in jeopardy, and that could take a toll on the local tourist economy and nearby businesses.
Many small businesses near Schlitterbahn say they have already taken hits since Hurricane Harvey. Now with a major local attraction at risk, those businesses that rely on tourism could face a financial storm. Their concern is that few tourists could mean fewer tourist dollars.
From donut shops to nail salons, small businesses on Padre Island got a boost when Schlitterbahn came to town.
'"All businesses on the Island here, we make money on tourists," Christian Hoang, Lyco's Nails 2 owner, added. "Who attracts tourists? Schlitterbahn."
However, now uncertainty looms over this business magnet, and that scares nearby business owners.
"If schlitterbahn goes, obviously the percent of tourists will be decreased. That means you know, my business is going to cut down a little bit," Hoang said.
Long had such high hopes hopes for development around the water park that he bought a rental property next door. However, he says when financial woes hit developers, the rentals slowed down.
"I thought it would do good because of the Schlitterbahn you know, but it don't do good at all!" Long said.
Beyond small businesses. Schlitterbahn's tourism draw has a big economic impact on the city of Corpus Christi.
"It's one of the top five reasons people came to Corpus Christi. Thousands and thousands of people came to visit," Paulette Kluge, President of the Convention and Visitors Bureau, said.
Many Padre Island residents have pushed for development surrounding the project for years.
"The plans are on the table, and they're fabulous. This property has been up in the air for a long, long time, and it's time. It's time," said Carter Tate, a member of the Island Strategic Action Committee and the Property Owners Association Board.
Now many Padre Island residents and business owners can only hop .those development plans still moves forward.
"If they foreclose it, that would be an effect on not just me, but a lot of other business owners on the Island," Hoang said.
Many residents and business owners near Schlitterbahn say they hope the land around the water park will still be developed one way or another, even if that means it is purchased by different developers.
Reading on your phone? It's better with the app. Download the KRIS 6 News Mobile App for iOS/iPhone here and for Android here.