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Development OKed for former Pharoah Valley golf course

Posted at 4:15 PM, Aug 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-18 19:40:29-04

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — After years of legal battles, the Barisi Village project is finally moving forward.

Barisi Village is the 127-acre development planned for the former Pharaoh Valley Golf Course, which closed in 2010.

Many Pharaoh Valley residents thought the day Barisi Village could move forward would never come. Now that it's here, they can't wait for work to start.

"We've been through three courts, all of whom now have found in favor of our Barisi Village project,” said Pharaoh Valley Neighborhood Association President Chris Kuehn.

The project developer is eager for crews to make up for the lost time.

”There's a whole team working on this project as far as planning; what the first buildings are going to be; how it's going to phase," said Jeff Blackard, who also is involved with development projects on North Beach.

Blackard now owns the Pharaoh Valley Golf Course, and started cleaning it up as soon as the appellate-court ruling was handed down. Blackard said construction crews will be on-site this week, and hopes to have some buildings up by the end of the year.

Pharaoh Valley residents said they plan to ask the city to create a new Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone, or TIRZ, to help pay for the $300 million project.

Blackard first announced this project back in 2012; a 127-acre Italian-inspired development built over the Pharaoh Valley Golf Course.

“We're super excited, this is something that when I bought the property, we were hoping for,” said Prescott Williams. “I’m optimistic about it.”

Williams bought his Pharaoh Valley home two-and-a-half years ago. Since then, he said he and his family have had trouble with homeless people on the course near his property.

“I think I can speak for the majority of the folks involved that we're all very excited to start seeing the area clean up,” he said.

The project was tied up in court for more than five years. A small group of Pharaoh Valley homeowners tried to block Barisi Village despite overwhelming neighborhood support.

In order for the development to move forward, the golf course’s deed restriction had to be changed. The opposition believed a 2015 Texas law -- which allows changes to deed restrictions as long as 75 percent of affected property owners approve -- was unconstitutional.

Last week, the Texas 13th Court of Appeals ruled in favor of Barisi Village, upholding a previous decision. The opposing homeowners have 30 days to appeal that ruling to the Texas Supreme Court.

“We won't be surprised if it doesn't end now, but we're very confident that we're moving forward in the right direction,” Kuehn said.