CORPUS CHRISTI — People who work in the North Beach area Harbor Bridge Replacement Project construction has negatively impacted the flow of customers, and many businesses have taken a financial hit.
"It's a hard sell right now," said Pier 99 general manager Mark Leanox. "With the redirection of traffic, it's been really tough."
Leanox says in the last year, the restaurant has lost 25 percent of its customers. He believes that's mostly due to the Harbor Bridge project and road work in and around the North Beach area.
Coastal Bend lawmakers met with Texas Department of Transportation officials Monday to get a clearer picture of what a design delay means for the project.
Last month, KRIS 6 News reported the bridge's completion date was pushed back for the second time. Now, Leanox is even more worried about a challenging road ahead.
"We have high hopes and we hope that's not the case," said Leanox. "But it's looking like we have another tough year ahead of us."
Fajitaville owner Lynn Frazier said his restaurant also has been hurting. Frazier also wants to build a $40 million mixed-use hotel on North Beach.
Frazier is staying optimistic, despite the bridge’s design setbacks, and his plan to build the hotel is still moving forward.
"(The design being delayed) was pretty heart-wrenching to think about," said Frazier.
He said he doesn't think the latest news on the Harbor Bridge would impact a hotel business much, because people book a hotel and stay there. It’s not like a restaurant, where people can come and go to the next restaurant as they please.
He, like other developers looking to develop in the area, and North Beach businesses, is just hoping eager to move forward with his plans.
"I really do want to get started on the (hotel) project," said Frazier. "I know things will eventually be great on North Beach."
Frazier's hotel project depends on the City Council moving forward with Jeff Blackard's proposed canal project. A 'yes' vote would allow construction to begin by the end of the year.
City Council is expected to vote on the canal project on Dec. 10.