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C.E.O. Port Of Corpus Christi Sean Strawbridge talks future of Harbor Island

"We’re not impervious to looking at modified uses of Harbor Island that may be more congruent with what the city leaders and members of the community want."
Sean Strawbridge 1.png
Posted at 9:47 PM, Jun 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-23 09:04:41-04

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — The future of Harbor Island.

This picture below shows Harbor Island.

Harbor Island

It's located within the city limits of Aransas Pass and Port Aransas.
The Port Of Corpus Christi owns land on Harbor Island.
On the Port Aransas side.
It's the land highlighted in the picture below.


The last few years, when the Port wanted to put a crude oil export terminal on Harbor Island, a public dispute happened.

The City of Port Aransas said no way to that terminal, and this year, the Port ultimately stopped pursuing that project.

So...with that behind them...what does the future of Harbor Island look like now?

Here's what the Port of Corpus Christi's C.E.O Sean Strawbridge had to say.

"Harbor Island is a unique piece of property in its proximity to the gulf and to open water. It’s also unique in its traditional use. It was the largest import port for crude oil for decades. Exxon used to import foreign sources of crude for its Humble refinery that used to exist in Ingleside. So, if you go back and look at Google Earth, you can see the many uses of Harbor Island over the last 70 years and there’s no reason for us to believe that that can’t be utilized again for the export of of goods."

Sean Strawbridge 1.png

"But certainly The city of Port Aransas has also changed in it’s composition. It’s not necessarily the sleepy little fishing village that it once was. It is certainly now developing into a playground for some of the more affluent, certainly recreational uses and fishing it’s a great jumping off point for both of the bays and estuaries as well as open water, open sea, deep-sea fishing. So we’re not impervious to looking at modified uses of Harbor Island that may be more congruent with what the city leaders over there and members of the community want but we have statutory limitations and how we can develop property. What we can’t do today is we can’t develop it for say tourism type uses. We can’t bring in a developer and have them develop a hotel or restaurants or shopping there. That is not allowed by law today. The great thing about laws is they can be changed and that’s what Judge Canales is trying to do right now is introduce some additional means by which the Port can invest in this community beyond industrial."

Strawbridge says it's not unusual for U.S. Ports to engage in infrastructure and even developing real estate to stimulate investment..
Case in point: The Port Authority of New York/New Jersey which built the World Trade Centers.
In San Diego, the waterfront there, all developed by the Port of San Diego.

One of the possible uses for Harbor Island Strawbridge said is to build a desalination plant there because of it's proximity to open water. TECQ remanded that permit twice.

All parties have a little less than 30 days from now to revise the information re-sent to the board before setting a preliminary hearing.

We'll keep you posted.