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Will missed deadlines put North Beach project in jeopardy?

Posted at 3:45 PM, Aug 28, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-29 01:04:34-04

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — The future of a key North Beach project was the subject of a recent meeting of the Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone (TIRZ) #4 board.

The $40 million Frazier Hotel is slated to be one of the biggest attractions of the new and improved North Beach. But the project is behind schedule, and a city deadline was missed.

Developers were supposed to have all the necessary building permits in place by mid-May. That didn’t happen, leaving the developer, Blackard Global in default with the city.

The firm was notified via mail and it became the subject during Thursday's TIRZ meeting.

“We were kind of perplexed because we were thinking we would have gotten a phone call or an email asking where we are on the project.,” said Jon Gonzalez.

While the deadline was missed, some permits have been acquired.

“Back in December they got some site preparation permits, that’s why some of the ground work was done,” said Corpus Christi City Manager Peter Zanoni. “They still need to get the building permits necessary.”

The site is prepared and elevated six feet, all that’s needed now are permits to start work. Gonzalez believes COVID-19 helped slow the project down.

“We have a pandemic going on,”said Gonzalez. “Everyone has been affected by that, especially our consultants, our subcontractors; everyone we rely on to get projects done.”

Those delays have forced developer Jeff Blackard to ask for an extension in order to get the permits.

“We’ll grant them the extension, we just need to work to see what they’re thinking an extension will be and what are we wanting an extension is going to be,” said Zanoni.

Developers are considering asking for an extension between one and three years for the 138-room hotel and 109-unit multi-family residential complex, though Gonzalez says the higher end is a worst-case scenario.

“In 2-3 years, we’re hoping to have trucks on the ground and construction almost done, if we can,” said Gonzalez.

The delays also raises questions about the future of the canal itself. Zanoni says that project is on schedule, with an engineering study due back in December.