CORPUS CHRISTI — Residents in the Pharaoh Valley neighborhood are one step closer to seeing construction on a $350 million development in their backyard.
“They brought in some tractors, with some heavy equipment, it looked like they were plowing," neighbor Madeline Garcia said. "Which is the most action in years.”
“I had black hair when we first started,” neighbor Steve Gomez said.
For Gomez, it’s been a decade since he first heard about Barisi Village. His home backs up into an abandoned golf course which will be turned into the $350 million development.
“This European village,” Gomez said. “It’s an incredible asset that eliminates an eye sore and really puts Corpus on the map.”
“It will come with some of the lakes, the little village, retail, food, and restaurants,” developer Jeff Blackard said. “A world-class championship par 3 courses. Pickleball.”
Blackard said he faced several hurdles like lawsuits from opposing residents and the COVID-19 pandemic.
The developer said it was a lot but he didn’t back out because of his relationship with a lot of Pharaoh Valley residents.
“It’s like this big family, you know, you’ve been on this mission for ten years all of us as a group,” Blackard said.
He said many of the residents are part of the process.
“When we design, we come to them and we say ‘Do you like this or not’, because it’s really building an extension of their neighborhood,” Blackard added.
Neighbors said in the time the property was in limbo they had some unwelcome guests.
“We’ve dealt with rodents,” Gomez said. “Too small dogs missing to homeless people. A couple of fires.”
“We have been in this house for 26 years,” neighbor Garcia said.
Garcia, a birder, said she wished the Pharaoh Valley Golf Course was turned into a park but had come to terms with the development.
Blackard said phase one of four parts will cost $ 80 million and should be done in a year and a half to two years.
He said his team’s last hurdle is applying to be a tax increment reinvestment zone or TIRZ.
“We use a portion of our own property taxes to make improvements,” Blackard said. “Public improvements basically.”
Blackard added that his team is in the process of finalizing the engineering and architecture plans.
“Property values (are) going up,” Gomez said. “(They) Get an opportunity to potentially, for some, cash out if they want to sell. Others could live their lives out here by some incredible property.”
Blackard, who lives in the Dallas area, said he would come to Corpus Christi the week of March 19 to update homeowners on the development.