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Businessman behind failed casino ship pitches new business

Posted at 10:30 PM, May 15, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-15 23:34:01-04

Years ago, his plan to bring a casino ship to the Coastal Bend couldn’t stay afloat. Now, it looks like a local businessman has new plans.

Vidal Conde wants to build a condominium development in Aransas Pass, even posting renderings of the project as recently as last week. However, it’s a surprise to city leaders there who are calling the proposal a non-starter.

There are new sketches of Conde’s latest vision on his Facebook page, and they include an old familiar name, “Pride of Texas.” That was the failed casino ship that he first proposed in 2014. He also sold $30,000 worth of tickets for its maiden voyage.

It appears Conde wants to bring it back, along with a condo complex and resort he calls the Mirielle. He proposed that it be built on the flatlands between the city and the ferry.

“He talked about the development and that’s something the council listened to. However, it’s been a year and we have not followed up on that,” said Gary Edwards, city manager of Aransas Pass.

Edwards also said Conde hasn’t followed up with leaders since that meeting. Edwards came to the city in September of 2017, so he wasn’t here during Conde’s first business venture. However, Edwards said it came up during his most recent pitch.

“It did present the opportunity for additional questions related to what happened in the past — not saying it’s bad, not saying it’s good. [There were] just additional questions that the council had,” Edwards explained.

With no communication since Conde’s pitch in 2018, Edwards says the city is not pursuing Conde’s development idea, no matter what residents or visitors may see on social media.

“Absolutely and emphatically, there’s been no action on what was briefly proposed by Mr. Conde by the Aransas Pass city council,” Edwards confirmed.

“At this point, I don’t anticipate moving forward with that. From what we know at this point, there’s not enough to go with.”

We contacted Conde to get his thoughts on his proposal, along with his reaction to the city’s comments, but we didn’t get a response.