Hurry! PINS Lifetime Passes for Visitors 62 and Older Going to $80

The price of a lifetime pass to national parks for people 62 years of age and older is about to change.

On August, 28, the cost of a lifetime pass to the national parks for those 62 and older will jump from $10 to $80. So if you are 62 years old get your lifetime pass before August 28 and you can access the more than 2,000 sites and parks across the country that are managed by the National Park Service. Those who purchase the passes before Aug. 27 will never have to pay an additional fee to visit any of the national parks, according to the NPS.

Passes can be purchased online for an additional service fee of $10 or at any of the parks without the extra charge. Passes also can be purchased through the mail, though applications must be postmarked by Aug. 27 to secure the $10 price.

The park service has offered the lifetime senior pass for $10 since 1994. It covers all entrance, day-use and vehicle fees, and provides discounts for things such as tours and campsites. At a site that charges per-person fees, pass holders can bring along three other adults for free. Seniors can still opt to buy an annual pass for $20. Those who purchase an annual pass for four straight years can convert their pass to a lifetime senior pass.

Single park-admission fees to the most popular sites can run as much as $30.In late 2016, Congress approved legislation, the National Park Service Centennial Act, that raises fees and sets up an endowment to help pay for projects and visitor services.

 via Padre Island Moon

Rebuilding the Iconic Harbor Bridge

If you’re a native South Texan, no doubt you are familiar with Corpus Christi’s big, beautiful, bridge.  The one that is sure to mesmerize and to some may even seem a little scary to cross.  You guessed it—the Harbor Bridge–the iconic roadway that is a distinct feature of the sparking city by the sea’s landscape is about to get a major upgrade.

The Harbor Bridge as we currently know it was built back in 1959 for a total cost of approximately $11 million dollars. It was considered the most important design work of Texas Highway Department Bridge Engineer Vigo Miller and was featured in Time magazine in 1964 for its exceptional beauty. No doubt our current bridge has served our community well, but increased safety concerns rooted in an aging infrastructure meant it was time to research a rebuild.

City and regional leaders have been working more than 15 years to pave the way for the construction of a replacement Harbor Bridge.  After an extensive Environmental Impact Study, the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) was granted approval from the Federal Highway Safety Administration to rebuild the current structure.  Now, here we are at the launch of one of the largest and most significant transportation projects in the region.

This summer, construction will commence on a new Harbor Bridge.  This new structure promises to be just as magnificent and beautiful as the beloved, current Harbor Bridge.  Making the most of the majestic views of the bay, the new bridge will be the longest, cable-stayed, concrete-segmental, bridge in North America.

The nearly $900 million project will include the development, design and construction of just over six miles of combined bridge and roadway.  It will include the new six-lane Harbor Bridge, as well as, the reconstruction of approximately 1.6 miles of IH-37 and approximately one mile of the Crosstown Expressway.  Once the new bridge is open to the traveling public, the project will conclude with the demolition of the existing Harbor Bridge.  The design/build firm, Flatiron/Dragados, LLC, who were chosen by TxDOT to complete construction, anticipate the project will take five years to complete.

The new bridge design incorporates a number of aesthetic features including shared-use paths, a community plaza, nighttime LED lighting and xeriscape landscaping. Designers are aiming for the new Harbor Bridge to be just as iconic as the original.  In order to get there, it’s anticipated that between 500 and 650 skilled workers will be needed to complete the job.  For more information on employment opportunities and general updates about the Harbor Bridge Project, please visit www.harborbridgeproject.com.

Padre Island Planned Marina Development

Details of Planned Island Development
Restaurants, live music venue, retail, residential, marina under design
By Dale Rankin, Island Moon Newspaper
Island developer Paul Schexnailder spoke to the Island Strategic Action Committee on Tuesday and filled in details of his plans for Island development on the 104 acre site around Lake Padre including a Hilton Hotel, multi-family and single-family residential, a marine, and a restaurant and live music venue developed by Lulu properties which is owned by the Lucy Buffett, the sister of musician Jimmy Buffett.

The largest part of the current phase of development is on the 104 acres on the Lake Padre side of SPID where in recent months Schexnailder has moved, “almost one million acres of sand and created 10,000 feet of new bulkheads.” Those plans include:
· A 220 room Hilton Hotel including retail space and meeting facilities just north of the canal leading to the planned Park Road 22/SPID Water Exchange Bridge.
“That facility is currently under design,” Schexnailder said. “When the design is done we will permit the road to it and the utilities.

· Lulu’s campus, which will include a seafood restaurant, live music year round operated by Lulu’s properties, which is owned by Lucy Buffett, the sister of musician Jimmy Buffett. The company currently has similar facilities in Gulf Shores, Alabama; Destin, Florida; and a new development in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina set to open in the spring of 2018.
“This facility will be able to handle the biggest fishing tournaments on the Gulf Coast,” Schexnailder said. “The company is currently designing its new facility for Myrtle Beach that will open early next year and that plan will look like the one we will build here.”
It will also include a family oriented ropes course, a sand playground, children’s play area, and various other entertainment features, and a cluster of retail shops, Schexnailder said.

· A boat fueling station and boat supply shop located off an entrance from State Highway 361.
A Multi-family housing development just south of the canal leading to the Water Exchange Bridge which include townhouses.
· A marina located on the north end of Lake Padre with entrance from State Highway 361 will include a ship’s store and restaurant, separate from the Lulu’s operation.
· Residential development on the north end of Lake Padre near the entrance to Packery Channel.
“These will be high-end, residences with a view right down Packery Channel,” Schexnailder said. There will be 80-90 lots and a private marina.”

· Barefoot Dunes residential development along the beach south of Whitecap Boulevard.
“This will be a residential development much like Cinnamon Shore in Port Aransas,” he said.
On the west side of SPID, around the Schlitterbahn waterpark, the plans include:
· Island Walk Village and townhomes connected to the Lake Padre development by a canal leading under the Water Exchange Bridge. It will also include retail space.
· Completion of the 1600-foot long Beach Walk canal which will tie both sides of the development together through the Water Exchange Bridge.
Schexnailder also addressed the long-term prospects for development on The Island. He said that recently several potential hotel developers have been turned down by lenders who believe that the local hotel market is overbuilt.
“Our problem is not an overbuilt market,” he said. “Our problem is that there is not enough for people to do when they get here.”
He said that the Florida panhandle which includes 85 miles of continual development is served by 26 million people in six surrounding states.
“We have that many people in Texas alone,” he said. “We are in an undersupplied situation, not an oversupplied one.”
He said there are currently about 11,000 hotel rooms in Corpus Christi and to serve ten percent of the market requires an additional 1100 rooms on The Island.
“With Island development we can increase the number of people coming to this area by at least ten percent so we will not be drawing from the current visitor base but adding to it.” He also addressed questions about whether he will complete the canal and bulkhead work on the west side of SPID.
“Whether or not there is a Water Exchange Bridge I will build canals to both sides of the site,” Schexnailder said. “If I don’t the Army Corps of Engineers will take away the permit for the whole site.”
Currently the canals on both side of the proposed bridge site are in place but about 300 feet of the canal on the west side of the roadway still needs to be excavated in order to connect the new canal to the existing Island canal system. An agreement to facilitate that final stage of the work is currently under negotiations between the city and developers.

Spring Breakers will have full beach access!


Good news for Spring Breakers headed to the Island this year. A section of beach will not be blocked off as previously planned. The state changed its mind to avoid a traffic headache.

The area in question is part of Mustang Island State Park. If you went out to the area last week, just north of Newport Pass Road, you would have seen bollards blocking off most of the beach. Now, some of the bollards are gone, allowing for a two-way flow of traffic.

So, this year, during peak Spring Break hours, you can enter the state-owned section of beach off Newport Pass, but if you come back that way, you’ll have to exit down at Zahn Road.

Under the old plan, you only could have entered or left at Access Road 3, though there would have been a small gap for emergency vehicles at Newport Pass.

The bollards were eventually taken down this week at State Representative Todd Hunter’s request. Texas Parks and Wildlife initially put them up to clarify that section of beach is state property and there are certain rules for things like drinking and camping.

Under the new plan, you can also enter or leave the beach at Access Road 3, but the state recommends your vehicle have four-wheel drive.

“I certainly feel that the removal of those bollards will certainly help facilitate the flow of traffic through those areas,” Mustang Island State Park Superintendent Scott Taylor says.

After Spring Break, Parks and Wildlife will consider putting the bollards back up, but charging a $5 fee for access is currently off the table. It’s something the state had been considering. via @kris6news

 

Barefoot Mardi Gras 2017

We are proud to be a significant sponsor of Barefoot Mardi Gras for the 5th Year in a row!!

Barefoot Mardi Gras
February 24 – 26, 2017
Padre Island, Texas

Add a little cayenne to your weekend & leave the shoes at home!

The Barefoot Mardi Gras returns on February 25, 2017 for a 8th year in a row on Padre Island raising money for Big Brothers Big Sisters and now the Island Foundation Schools.

A Family Parade takes place along the beach off Park Road 22 between Whitecap Blvd and Bob Hall Pier. Parade starts at 11am. The Parade Judges Float will open the parade followed a few minutes later by color guard and Mardi Gras themed floats in different divisions like Float, Jeep and Golf Cart. Many colorful characters enter the parade making it a unique activity for friends and family.

New this year is the Barefoot Mardi Gras Festival, a fun filled family event with Cajun music, food, drink, displays, exhibits, artists, children’s area, children’s stage and more! Admission is $5 with Kids 8 years old and younger FREE!

An adult-themed Party, The King & Queens Ball, will let the good times roll on the evening of the 25th from 7pm – 11pm at the Veranda Restaurant & Bar at Schlitterbahn. Miss Neesie and the Earfood Orchestra will perform and a special menu of Cajun style food will be served. Signature Barefoot Mardi Gras drinks will also be available. Guests are encouraged to wear costumes. Dancing and a live video stream from Bourbon Street in New Orleans will be part of the merriment. Attendees must be 21 years old and above. Tickets are $30 and available at various locations.

Events:

Barefoot Mardi Gras Parade

February 25, 2017
Begins at 11:00 am

Floats and fun for the whole family! The parade starts at Whitecap Beach and runs along Padre Island to the Briscoe King Pavilion near Bob Hall Pier.

2017 Barefoot Parade Registration & Rules

View the parade route map

Barefoot Mardi Gras Festival

February 25, 2017
11:00 am – 5:00 pm

Cajun Music, food & fun for all ages! The festival is located at the Briscoe King Pavillion in Bali Park on Padre Island and features live music, artists, car displays, exhibitors, a children’s area, food, drink and more!
Admission is $5.00 paid at the door. Cash Only.

King & Queens Ball

February 25, 2017
7:00 pm – 12:00 am

Patrons must be 21 years of age or older to attend. The ball is located at the Veranda Restaurant & Bar inside the Schlitterbahn Waterpark on Padre Island. Includes a cajun style dinner and dancing to the live New Orleans style music from Miss Nessie & the Ear Food Orchestra. Costumes encouraged!
Tickets are $25 pre-sale and $35 at the door. Tickets are available at Padres Island Properties Owners Association and Schlitterbahn at the Veranda Restaurant.

Kick Off Party
February 7, 2017
Begins at 5:30 pm

The 2017 Barefoot Mardi Gras Kick Off Party will be at Doc’s Seafood & Steak Restaurant at 13309 S Padre Island Dr, Corpus Christi, TX 78418.
Includes food, music and a silent auction to benefit Big Brothers Big Sisters and the Island Foundation Schools. Admission: $8.

Fat Friday Party
February 17, 2017
Begins at 6:00 pm

The 2017 Fat Friday Party will be at the Boathouse Bar & Grill at 15241 Leeward Drive, Corpus Christi, TX 78418.
Includes food, band and a live auction to benefit Big Brothers Big Sisters and the Island Foundation Schools. Admission $5.00. Reserve a table in advance for up to (4) four people for $30.00.

Our Cause:

The event was founded as a fundraiser for Big Brothers Big Sisters by Denise and Duane Ebert and has grown into a signature event for Padre Island. The Eberts asked the Padre Island Business Association to take on the management of the event and the two groups worked together in 2015.

Added into the mix by 2016 was an Island charity that will also serve as a beneficiary, The Island Foundation (Seashore Charter Schools).  EM Marketing Company located on Padre Island, along with the Barefoot Mardi Gras Board of Directors, Committee Chairs, numerous Committee Members and volunteers will all work together on producing the events.

Buy T-Shirts:

Exclusive 2017 Barefoot Mardi Gras T-shirts will be available starting on Tuesday, February 7 at the Kick Off Party at Doc’s. They will also be available on Friday, February 17 at the Fat Friday Party at the Boathouse. Available at participating Island businesses up to February 25 and then during the parade and festival.

Further Information:

Barefoot Mardi Gras Information:
barefootmardigras@yahoo.com

Padre Island Business Association:
info@padrebusiness.org

Exerpted from BarefootMardiGras.com

 

New Corpus Christi water director: Eager to raise the standards!

water-blue-cleanCorpus Christi’s newly appointed water director knows a few things about fixing water system woes.

Clarence Wittwer’s career in utilities began more than 25 years ago in Seabrook, Texas, where his first professional memory was climbing into a hole in the street to fix a leaking pipe.

Now he’s been tasked by City Manager Margie Rose to repair a water department that’s become a punchline for Corpus Christi residents and visitors after multiple water quality scares in recent years.

Just don’t tell that to Wittwer. He applied for the job days after the city’s chemical contamination scare in December and considers the city to be home to “some of the best water in the state.”

The city’s recent streak of water quality issues “didn’t deter me too much,” Wittwer said. “Corpus Christi is not alone in that, because it’s an older city with older infrastructure.” Rose announced Wittwer’s appointment Monday, which was also his first day on the job.

While there are infrastructure needs with decades-old pipes in some parts of the city, Wittwer said the city’s system is better off than most.  He pointed to the O.N. Stevens Water Treatment Plant as one of the finest of its kind in Texas and planned improvements like the four elevated storage tanks — two of which are under construction now — as beacons of promise moving forward.

He said a public information campaign is one of his top priorities as the new director to educate residents and visitors on what issues the city is facing and how he plans to address them.

“A boil water notice doesn’t mean there’s a problem. It means there’s a potential issue, but you’re being proactive in protecting the public,” Wittwer said.  That campaign will likely include public meetings, social media outreach and talking directly to the public and in some cases using Facebook Live.  “We’ve got to rebuild the public trust,” he said.

He praised city staff and the City Council for recent efforts to update the city’s backflow prevention rules, and said capital improvement budgets have reflected a coordinated effort to improve the system.

One of his longer-term priorities will be developing an internship program with local high schools, Del Mar College and Texas A&M University- Corpus Christi. The program’s goal would be to train qualified workers to replace a rapidly aging group of workers licensed to work in certain water department roles.

But for now, his focus is fully on the public’s perception of his department.  “My biggest goal is to get this back to not being a joke (to the public),” Wittwer said. “Because I do believe Corpus has some of the best water in the state, and I want the public to see that.”

Matt Woolbright (@reportermatt) 

2017 Great Year to Buy a Home?

46118737 - real estate sign in front of new house for sale

46118737 – real estate sign in front of new house for sale

Just over 1000 homes are currently on the market in Corpus Christi. If the housing market doesn’t change, it would take just over four months to sell all those homes.

Real Estate Agent, David Garcia, who’s been selling homes for 16 years, says this is good news!

“It’s an excellent time to buy, you definitely want to take advantage of the low interest rates,” Garcia said. He says the housing market is based on supply and demand.

Out of those 1000 plus homes for sale, roughly 21% of them fall in the high demand category. Garcia says the most frequently purchased homes in Corpus Christi are right around $250,000. Although the supply for those homes is low, the demand is high.

Meaning, if you put your house on that market around that price range, it will sell very quickly.

Garcia says a recent survey found the median home price went up about 7% from 2015 to 2016.

He says that translates into a good return on investment. That’s not the only advantage to buying a home.  Buyers also build equity and reap tax advantages

“Your net worth is 45 times greater owning a home vs renting,” Garcia said.

Another incentive to buy? Rent has gone up over the last year. On average, renters will spend slightly over 1000 a month for a single family.

“A lot of the industry experts are predicting 2017 to be a very good year in terms of sales,” Garcia said.

via KrisTv.com

Meagan Furey – voted Citizen of the Year

We are thrilled to announce our very own Meagan Furey has been voted “Citizen of the Year” by the Padre Island Business Association. This is a very prestigious award and we feel it could not have gone to a more genuine, hard working community focused individual.  Congratulations Meagan …We are so proud of you for 2016 PIBA Citizen of the Year Award.  You inspire us all, thank you for all your dedication for making our little slice of paradise an amazing place to work and play! ~ Coastline Properties Team

meagan-furey

Regional Home Sales Report

As Realtors we are always asked about the market, and each market has different conditions that weigh in on whether its a buyers or a sellers market. We believe the article below handily brings some interesting statistics to the table, at the same time we believe each area of the city needs to be examined to determine the market conditions.  Also, keep in mind the time of year..it’s very typical for a slowing down to happen toward the end of the year as families settle in for the Holidays and typically don’t make decision’s about moving unless forced to by job’s or other circumstances.  Currently there are some great buys out here on Padre Island, and we welcome your questions about our local market to determine if it is good time for what your particular goals might be.  ~Coastline Properties Team

Via CALLERTIMES – Home sales in the Corpus Christi area were sluggish in October, falling to nearly their lowest level this year.

A total of 392 homes were sold in the Corpus Christi Metropolitan Statistical Area in October, according to the latest Economic Trends report by the Corpus Christi Regional Economic Development Corp. The report, released Monday, cited data from the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University. That’s the lowest volume of home sales this year since January, when 322 houses changed hands.

Sales in October 2015 and October 2014 were 461 and 441, respectively.

According to the report, 954 residential permits have been issued by the city of Corpus Christi through the first 10 months of this year, compared 934 during the same time frame a year ago and 1,088 for all of 2014. The number of commercial permits issued from January to October also dropped slightly from the same time in 2015, to 269 from 272.

Other highlights:

  • Regional unemployment dropped below 6 percent for the first time in four months. The jobless rate in October was 5.6 percent, a drop from 6.2 percent in July, August and September. Unemployment was 6 percent in June. Before this summer, the last time unemployment was this high, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, was May 2009, when the jobless rate hit 6.8 percent.
  • The number of year-to-date airline enplanements, or passenger boardings, at Corpus Christi International Airport was 282,581 from January to October. That represents a 3.3 percent decrease from 292,331 during the same period a year ago.
  • Year-to-date sales tax collection in Alice, Beeville, Corpus Christi and Robstown were well below their pace of a year earlier. Corpus Christi collected $60.4 million in such collections from January to October, compared with $65.5 million during the same period in 2015. Alice saw a 42.4 percent drop in revenues when comparing the same 10-month period. Its year-to-date sales tax collections were $4.35 million in October and $7.55 million in October 2015.   via Chris Ram

CCPD launches Summer Crime Initiative

KRISTV.com | Continuous News Coverage | Corpus Christi

Unfortunately, as The temperature goes up, so does crime. That’s why The Corpus Christi Police Department unveiled their plans to fight crime.

The difference between The Summer Initiative, compared to others is, what parts of town officers will be focusing in on. With each initiative, CCPD crime analysts determine where The “hot spots” are at different times of The year. During The Spring Break initiative, beach goers will notice more law enforcement on North Padre Island, so they’ll drive along The beaches and visit bars, focusing on underage drinking.

During The Holiday initiative, implemented at The end-of-The-year, Police presence is focused in The parking lots of major department stores but The Summer Initiative, which lasts longer than other initiatives, will bring more officers to The Downtown and Uptown area.

The biggest problem in The Downtown and Uptown area? Synthetic marijuana.

Assistant Chief Mark Gutierrez said, “Not only are we targeting The users, but we’re also targeting their dealers and that’s part of what our Narcotics Unit will be doing. They’ll be working to take The dealers off The streets.”

Synthetic marijuana isn’t The only thing they’ll be looking for. Police will also keep an eye out for minors breaking curfews or underage drinking and distracted drivers.

Commander David Blackmon said, “We’ll be out there in unmarked units actively enforcing and frankly, making examples of these people that are just blatantly putting other people in danger.”

This is The 5th year for The Summer Crime Initiative. The first day of Summer (June 20th) kicks off The first day of CCPD’s Summer Crime Initiative and ends after Labor Day weekend.

Ridley Turtle nest numbers up this season

It takes a Kemp’s Ridley sea turtle about 45 minutes to nest.

“They are quick,” said Donna Shaver, chief of the Division of Sea Turtle Science and Recovery at the Padre Island National Seashore.

That’s how long it takes from the moment they crawl out of the water, scuttle up the beach, dig a hole with their rear flippers, lay eggs in the hole, cover the nest with sand and head back into the water.

And this year, about 175 of those nests were found so far on the Texas coast.

“This season is looking pretty good,” Shaver said. “We have more nests so far than we did in 2015, 2014 and 2013. However it’s still lower than 2012, when we had 209 nests on Texas coasts.”

There’s one month left in the nesting season and Shaver said she hopes to get closer to the 2012 record with the help of staff and volunteers.

She said 84 of the nests were found at Padre Island National Seashore, and nine on North Padre Island north of the National Seashore.

Padre Island National Seashore will host about 20 public releases of Kemp’s ridley hatchlings this year, including one Friday and others through mid-August.

Release dates depend upon when the eggs hatch and the hatchlings become ready for release, officials said.

Jan Sawyer, 80, has been a turtle patrol volunteer since 2002.

She did not spot a mother turtle crawl out from the water until about two years after she started volunteering. Since then, she spots one to two turtles nesting every season, she said.

“To see the mother turtles is as exciting now as it was the first time,” Sawyer said. “To see them nest and then to be able to help out during the public releases is a wonderful thing.”

The fourth public release of the season will be at 6:45 a.m. Friday at the Padre Island National Seashore.

There will be no fee to enter the national seashore to watch the release in front of the Malaquite Beach Visitor Center, which is about 2 miles from the entrance.

Officials advise calling the Hatchling Hotline at 361-949-7163 to make sure the release has not been canceled. The cancellation notice will be posted on the Padre Island National Seashore Division of Sea Turtle Science & Recovery Facebook page by 2 a.m.

Food is prohibited. To not disorient the turtles, viewers should not wear white clothing or white shoes or take photos using a flash.  via Callertimes.com Twitter: @CallerNatalia

North Padre Island Canal Construction Underway

KiiiTV.com South Texas, Corpus Christi, Coastal Bend

KIIITv has recently reported on all the dirt moving around on the east side of Park Road 22. If you live in the area you have no doubt noticed all the heavy equipment moving sand on the Gulf side of Park Road 22. It is all connected to the Riverwalk-style development that is soon to be going up there and the planned bridge over Park Road 22.  Lots of excitement Developing here on North Padre Island, as the “Upper Padre” Development project is well underway.

CC voters face critical sales tax vote in November

KRISTV.com | Continuous News Coverage | Corpus Christi
CORPUS CHRISTI –

Plenty of issues will be in voters’ hands come November, including a pivotal decision on how to spend sales tax revenue.

Depending on the vote, a powerful city board that spends your money, may not exist next year.

An eighth of every cent you pay in sales tax funds the city’s Type A Board, which controls the Type A Fund.

We’re talking millions of dollars a year controlled by five people.

The board spends most of it on economic development. They also spend money on seawall repairs and the American Bank Center.

CLICK HERE: Projects funded by Type A Board

The board (fund) is up for renewal this year, and it’s up to the voters.

Jerry Sansing is president of the Corpus Christi Taxpayers Association. He plans on voting against it.

“I’ve seen too much money go down the drain. You know, we can’t fix streets. We can’t do this. We can’t do that, but we can certainly tax for everything under the sun,” he says.

Sansing would rather the city give that money back to the people, or spend it, in part, to cut down palm trees off Airline. The ones right by the Gulfway Shopping Center.

Sansing says they violate the Americans with Disabilities Act because they take up too much room on the sidewalk, and make it almost impossible for people in wheelchairs to get by.

But Type A Board member Bart Braselton points out the board’s numerous accomplishments, like landing Schlitterbahn with a $5 million deal in incentives.

“It competes with other cities, and when you know, when you’re having somebody that’s bringing say, anywhere from 500 to 1,000 new jobs to your city, the return on investment is incredible,” Braselton says.

Sansing says projects like Schlitterbahn don’t need the money.

Braselton points out other things the Type A Board has helped fund, like the Engineering Department at Texas A&M Corpus Christi, or the truck driving program at Del Mar College.

If residents vote to get rid of the board, it’ll be disbanded after any remaining money is spent.

If that happens, it’ll likely be up to the city council to decide how to re-allocate that portion of sales tax revenue every year.  Via KrisTv.com

Corpus Christi Chambers to Unite

hand-shake

Officials for the Corpus Christi and Hispanic chambers of commerce say their historic merger should wrap up in the next few weeks, and that they are just days from unveiling the new organization’s name.

A transition team consisting of members from each chamber’s board took less than a month to unify the groups and agree on a name for the new chamber.

The team is expected to notify the two boards of its recommendation in coming days. The name will be made public after they’ve voted on it, perhaps as early as the beginning of February, Alan Wilson, chairman of the Corpus Christi chamber, told the Caller-Times on Thursday.

Other details, including memberships and drafting bylaws, are being worked out but appear to be on pace for completion by the end of March, Wilson said.

“Everyone has been on board with making sure this (merger) is something positive for the entire region, for the entire community,” said Rosie Gonzalez Collin, chair of the Hispanic chamber.

Members of the chambers voted overwhelmingly Dec. 29 to unite their organizations. Supporters have said the move was necessary to eliminate overlap in membership and to keep Corpus Christi’s business landscape in line with the region’s energy and job growth.

The two chambers haven’t wasted time preparing for the unification since.

Executive board members of each group have met with Annette Medlin, who recently was named president and CEO of the Corpus Christi chamber. The Hispanic chamber is planning an official welcome ceremony for Medlin during its Feb. 25 “Mi Casa es Su Casa” women’s mixer.

Medlin fills a vacancy left by Foster Edwards, who retired.

Earlier this month, the Hispanic chamber announced Gilda Ramirez would remain its interim president, while taking on a full-time role as its vice president of small business, international outreach and education affairs. Ramirez is expected to work on staff of the new chamber once the transition is finished.

Twitter: @Caller_ChrisRam via Caller Times

Great Tips for Holiday House Hunting

holiday-house-hunting

This time of year typically marks the unofficial time people begin thinking about the holidays. After Halloween, time seems to speed up and before we know it the holiday parties, charity functions and the like set in for familes. Real estate activity during the holiday season is typically discouraged because of the challenges posed on both sides of a transaction.

For sellers, there is the inconvenience of having to keep the home clean; leaving on a moment’s notice for showings; and limiting holiday entertaining. For buyers, there may be limited access to houses if sellers place showing restrictions due to personal schedules and commitments.

However there are some advantages and  other considerations that both sides should keep in mind.

Buyers will find fewer homes on the market, but the homes that are available have highly motivated sellers. This may provide a better negotiating climate, and there is less likely to be the type of competition for homes you see during high season. In turn, sellers will find equally motivated buyers, and may find that offers and closings move more quickly.  What this means is, bargains and negotiations are plentiful this time of year if you are working with a savvy real estate agent in corpus christi.

Holiday sellers should curb large plans to entertain, have family & friends stay over, or do excessive decorating. Focus on showing off the features of your home that will appeal to a buyer – not your family decorations and holiday traditions.  It sounds like a less attractive holiday, but the dividends will more than pay for themselves.  Remember to always keep a mindset of a buyer in mind.  Have a Happy and healthy holiday season!

Texas Home Prices Climb Likely To Continue, Says Real Estate Economist At Texas A&M

home-prices-rise

COLLEGE STATION – Recent home price indices (HPI) all indicate another increase in Texas home prices, a trend that will likely continue for a while, says an economist with the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University.

CoreLogic’s HPI, one of several key indicators that center researchers track, showed an 8.5 percent year-over-year increase in Texas home prices in February. Prices in Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown and Dallas-Plano-Irving increased 10.4 percent and 9.3 percent, respectively.

“As long as inventory stays tight, and as long as demand stays high relative to supply, we’re going to keep seeing these kinds of priceincreases,” said Center Research Economist Dr. Jim Gaines.  Center data show statewide housing inventory in February was at 3.1 months. Houston’s inventory was at 2.7 months in February, while Dallas was at 1.8 months. An inventory of 6.5 months is generally considered a balanced market.

While the shortage of pre-owned single-family homes on the market is contributing to the market’s tightness, Gaines said there’s also a lack of new product.

“Home builders have not been building houses as fast as they have in the past,” he said. “They’re doing the best they can, but that growth is not adding to the total inventory.”

Gaines said the demand for new homes is still there, thanks to economic growth, job growth and people moving to Texas. The biggest problem is the lack of lot inventory and land development.

“Historically, Texas housing markets have maintained a good balance of supply and demand because our building industry could build houses fairly easily, fairly quickly and fairly cheaply compared with other states,” he said. “Land costs and labor costs were lower. The Texas land development model simply worked. But financing for land development and lot development dried up between 2009 and 2013, so all of a sudden there’s this shortage, and it’s going to take several years for that to get unraveled.”

Another problem is the effect local regulatory controls and impact fees are having on builders.

“The demand for goods and services provided by local governments has increased along with the population,” Gaines said. “The cost of those goods and services has also increased, and governments are faced with the problem of how to pay for them.

So they’re passing some of those costs on to developers in the form of regulatory costs, permitting fees, platting fees, direct impact fees for roads and utilities and that sort of thing. So all of our costs are going up.”

VIA – For more from Gaines on the Texas housing market, listen to the April 8 episode of the Real Estate Red Zone podcast (“All Housing, All the Time”). It’s online at http://www.recenter.tamu.edu/podcast/

What is the true cost when a Real Estate AGENT Cuts their commission?

In today’s competitive real estate market in Corpus Christi, some agents are offering to cut their commissions in an attempt to attract more business. The truth is that they want to be listing agents. Here are some questions to ask before listing your home with an agent who’s willing to take a “pay cut” to work with you:

WHAT IS THE REAL ESTATE AGENT‘S PRIMARY MOTIVATION FOR CUTTING THEIR COMMISSION? In all likelihood, it’s because they are in a position where they simply need the business that badly. Do you really want to trust the sale of your property to someone who is desperate for your business? There is a difference between WANTING your business and NEEDING your business.

IF YOUR PROPERTY DOESN’T SELL, WHAT HAVE YOU ACCOMPLISHED? There is a difference between listing a property and selling a property. What the agent didn’t tell you is that they will make less money selling your property than if they sell another property on the market. You want an agent who’s going to be excited about bringing you an offer.

WHICH SERVICES ARE THEY GOING TO CUT? If you cut your commission, then you have to cut service. Many factors come into play in finding the right buyer who’s willing to pay your price. To get top price for a property, you need as many services for you as you can possibly get.

WOULD YOU REALLY BE EXCITED ABOUT A 15% PAY CUT? A 1% reduction in commission equals more than 15% of the total commission or 60% of the selling agents commission. How can the agent really be excited about working for you? Is the agent being honest with you when he or she tells you that they’re excited about getting the property sold?

ARE THEY GOING TO COOPERATE WITH OTHER BROKERS? What are they going to pay the other brokers? Why are those brokers going to be excited about taking a 15% pay cut? To get top price for your property, you need to have all brokers in the marketplace excited about selling it.

IS THE REAL ESTATE AGENT A SKILLED NEGOTIATOR? If the other broker is willing to let you negotiate them out of 15% or more of their income from the sale of your property, will they also let the buyer negotiate 15% or more from the purchase price of your property? What is that other broker’s sale price to list price ratio? You might be costing yourself tens of thousands of dollars by trying to save a couple thousand dollars in commissions.

What’s the most important thing to you in the sale of your home? Is it paying a lower commission, or is it getting “top dollar for your home?” We are in the business of “protecting” the financial interest of our sellers, and want you to receive top dollar for your property, at Coastline Properties it is our mission to insure that you receive the absolute best buyer for your home!

Schlitterbahn Upper Padre News 2015

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Happy New Year Padre Islanders!!  We are excited about 2015 at Coastline Properties and what’s in store for our little piece of paradise.   We read an article you will see printed “below” from Kris TV yesterday and felt it necessary to get you up to speed on what has been happening with the Schlitterbahn project.  What I can and will tell you is that the headline is incredibly misleading and we do find it troubling that this is the 2nd media outlet in the past 60 days that has tried to negatively spin this project, and the funny thing is they are making themselves look like ridiculous in the process.  Yes it is true things have not gone smoothly on this project but if you know anything about land development and real estate with 100 million dollar+ projects with multiple partners involved, there are always going to be bumps in the road.  As the saying goes, “Rome wasn’t built in a day”  This project is not a race, its more like a marathon.  When Schlitterbahn fully opens there doors people will have long forgotten about this lull in time.   I find it often troubling how media outlets intentionally create headlines to prey on the human emotion of fear, just to generate an audience so they can continue to sell their advertisers on inflated viewership data by creating fear based content to draw in unsuspecting people.

In Contrast I have also taken the liberty to post a second article from of our Most Informed Padre Island Journalist “Dale Rankin, Owner of the Island Moon”  This article was printed just a few weeks ago that has a much more detailed and accurate depiction of the speed bumps in schlitterville project.  The first thing you will notice is a headline that is neutral, and his article clearly spells out many details to help people understand what’s happening.  The reason that Dale Rankin is so well liked on our Island is because he always does his best to keep us all informed with a non biased point of view, and if he does insert his personal point of view he does let us know the difference between it and the actual facts of the content.  Thanks Dale for your tireless work in bringing us the Island News every week! ~Coastline Properties

Before You Read the Articles Below WATCH THIS VIDEO to see the Progress so far!

KRIS TV ARTICLE – Jan 6, 2015

“Schlitterbahn in Financial Trouble”

CORPUS CHRISTI – KRIS 6 News has learned that Schlitterbahn is in financial trouble.

The official opening of the park on Padre Island has already been delayed, and now, the company owes over half a million dollars to multiple vendors who’ve worked on the upcoming water park.

At least six different vendors have filed liens against the company for more than $137,000, and one contractor, Texas Descon, has filed a lawsuit against the company and its owners, saying that it’s owed nearly $700,000.

We spoke to partial owner Jeff Henry on the phone today. He told us this problem started when the scope of the project doubled in size.

When that happened, the money ran out, and when the money ran out, he and the other owners debated for months over how to proceed with additional funding.

The delay led to vendors not getting paid, but now, Henry says they’ve solved the funding issue, and says all of the vendors should get paid within ten days.

“We’re trying very hard to get a positive spin back on this project, to get it moving and get it finished, so we can open it and kids can start having fun, and the older kids can start having jobs. We’re just sorry that we had these problems and we’ll try not to ever have them again,” Henry says.

Henry says the increase in project size does mean there’ll be two to three times more jobs available once construction is complete.

The company plans to officially open the park this summer

Island Moon Article – Dale Rankin

What’s Going on at Schlitterbahn – Dec. 24th, 2014

As I have made the rounds of Island holiday parties this Christmas season the most common question I have heard is what you see printed above:

“What’s going on at Schlitterbahn? I have refrained from writing about it because I have been awaiting the resolution of events going on behind the scenes that I know will sooner or later gel straightened out and my intent was to wait until that happens to say anything. But as time has gone by the stories have gotten wilder and wilder. “I hear they have gone broke and are going to declare bankruptcy.” Or, “I hear the financing fell through.” Or the best one “I heard the city has condemned the building and it is going to have to be tom down.” It was that last one that made me decide that waiting any longer was not a good idea. So let me begin by addressing those three questions/assertions; No, No, and No.

Here ’s what’s happening

Here is what I have learned by talking to the people involved in the deal. I will leave them nameless here because they have not consented to be quoted. but the information is first hand. Here’s what I know. The project has not gone broke and financing did not “fall through.” What has happened is that the project has grown by almost twice since construction began and that requires more money. How to handle that has caused stress among the partners and they are in the process of reorganizing themselves. Some of the partners may opt to be bought out by other partners, or they may not. It is unknown at this point which partners will stay in and which may opt out.

But what is known is that the partners, if they so choose, can write a check to finish the project. lt’s pretty hard to “go bankrupt” under those conditions. It will get worked out in due course. So far about $49 million has been spent on the project and from what I’m told it is believed it will cost around $69 million to finish. The language in the tax incentives from the city – primarily Sales Tax and Hotel Occupancy Tax which are in the neighborhood of $122 million and which are a crucial part of the park’s business model – requires that the exterior of the building and the park be “done” by next March. In that vein you may have noticed work has resumed on the rides at the south end of the park and also on the exterior of the building. More workers have been added of late and more, l’m told, will be added after the first of the year. So far the City of Corpus Christi has declined to release about $3 million money from the Type A Board requiring that the building’s exterior be finished first even though that was originally part of Phase ll of the project, to avoid a political backlash for releasing public money for a project with an unfinished building. It’s a glitch not a deal killer and it too will be resolved in due course.

I am in communication with the people involved in the project and they assure me they will inform me when the current questions are resolved. I would point out that this is a privately- funded project – with no public money in it yet – and the developers are not required to release anything to the public even when it is. That has been part of my reluctance to write about the mid-course adjustments going on now. But as we all know the Coconut Telegraph on The Island is quick to report and is almost always wrong. So in the absence of good information bad information has filled the vacuum. Rest assured that if the project ever looks like it is in trouble I will be the first to say so; it is not. I know that the folks who read the legal filings have found a lawsuit from a contractor who claims he is owed about $660,000. There is a dispute there but it has nothing to do with the park’s developers not being able to pay. It too will be resolved in course. Which leads to the final rumor making the rounds — that the building has been condemned and must be tom down. I have to admit that one is pretty creative. Stupid yes. but creative. I have been inside the building many times and can tell you that when people see it they will be impressed. It is finished throughout with wood taken from the trees that burned in the fire in Bastrop a few years ago and it is a beautiful building. If they start tearing it down l‘ll let you know.

Everybody take a deep breath

So just let me say this. Everybody just take a deep breath. Don’t believe any crazy rumors. I can’t tell you exactly when the last bit of work will be finished there; projects this big take a while to get completely done and are complex by nature, some bumps in the road are to be expected. ‘There is still a lot of concrete to he poured but there is time and money to do it and it will get done. Expect the park to be open by Spring Break 2015 and for some work to continue on through the summer season while the park is open. The people behind this project know what they are doing and it will get done.

One ugly fence

Now, as for that fence along the Aquarius Extension: I have to agree with you that is one ugly fence. But I would just point out that the same people who are calling to complain about the ugly fence are the same ones who called to complain about the “junkyard” they saw before the fence went up. You can’t make an omelet without breaking a few eggs. This too will be fixed in due course. If having to look at an ugly fence is the worst thing that happens to you today you should thank your lucky stars. Once the park opens all of this will he forgotten.

ISLAND MOON ON FACEBOOK>>

8 Benefits of Buying a House at Year’s End

endofyearrealtorSummer may be real estate’s busy season, but winter offers great opportunities for buying a house, especially for renters looking to become homeowners, growing families trading up to larger houses and baby boomers seeking homes to fit their evolving lifestyles.

Generally speaking, your housing choices during the late fall are still healthy. October and November are great months to go house hunting. December is usually sparse, market-wise, but if that fits your timeline, you could luck out.

The benefits to buying a house at the end of the year include the following:

1. Tax savings

If you close by December 31, you can deduct mortgage interest, property taxes, points on your loan and interest costs. These deductions are significant, especially in the early years of your loan when you’re paying off a lot of interest.

2. Motivated sellers

Many sellers want to enjoy tax savings on the next home they purchase. They may accept lower bids in order to meet Uncle Sam’s deadlines. However, if you’re in a strong seller’s market, you’ll want to be conservative and heed advice from your real estate professional.

3. Builder incentives

If you’re buying a house that is brand new, there’s a good chance builders may push to close the books on their year—and meet quotas. They may offer upgrades or little extras to sell houses before the calendar turns.

4. Available movers

Many moving companies are booked six weeks or more in advance during the busy summer months. In the fall and winter, it’s normally easier to secure the services of a moving company or rental equipment on shorter notice.

5. Paying toward something you own

If you’re renting, your monthly check goes toward something that will last you a month: You’ll never see any return on that money. When you buy a house, your monthly mortgage payment goes toward an investment—and ultimately a roof that’s yours.

6. Consistent payments

Landlords can increase your rent. Once you secure a mortgage, you can rely on consistent payments if you have a fixed-rate loan.

7. Freedom to renovate

Modernize your kitchen, paint your home’s exterior neon orange, change your fixtures orreplace your carpeting; whatever inspires you, no one can tell you, “No!”

8. Gaining equity

In the beginning, most of your payment goes toward interest. But gradually more will go toward paying off your principal, meaning you build up equity—or savings—in your home. Another factor in equity is appreciation: As home values rise, so does your rate of equity.

via Realtor.com

Rapidly Diminishing REO Foreclosure Sales

The number of foreclosed home sales has been rapidly falling and could essentially vanish by next year. Those who specialize in foreclosure sales should therefore look towards other line of business.

  • In August, foreclosed sales comprised only 6 percent of all home sales transactions, down from double-digit figures last year and from near 30 percent few years further back.
    In addition to fewer distressed properties on the market currently, there is very little in the pipeline. The number of foreclosure starts is essentially back-to-normal with only 0.4 percent of mortgages undergoing that process. Moreover, mortgages originated in the past four years are one of the best performing with very little defaults.
  • We should nonetheless be mindful that the overall count of seriously delinquent mortgages and those homes in some stage of foreclosure process are still above historical normal because some states have been very slow to process the required paper work. For example, some homeowners who have not been paying mortgages for 2 or 3 years are still living in the home in Florida and New Jersey. But the broad figure on seriously delinquent borrowers has been sliced in half over the past three years.
    The bottom line there is that foreclosed sales could be in the 1 to 3 percent next year – essentially back the normal market conditions. Fewer distressed properties will also help with the overall appraisal process of not using bad comparable.
  • REALTOR business tip. From time-to-time there will be a homebuyer who takes a very long time to decide. After viewing 30 homes, they will ask for few more, and on and on. One way to help on the decision, according to psychology studies on human behavior, is to provide extreme alternatives that the consumer will certainly not buy. For example, showing a home that is outside of the buyer’s price criteria or a foreclosed home can help speed the decision. Since foreclosed homes are on the decline, one has to use other alternative extreme comparisons.
  • A similar decision process applies in politics. Research shows undecided voters wanting to gravitate towards the middle for no other reason than not wanting to be extreme. Therefore a portrayal of political opponent as an extremist will help get votes for your candidate. That is why negative political advertisements, though nasty and unpleasant to view, is said to work in helping undecided voters make up their mind.

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Source:  National Association of Realtors

Next Stop for Median Home Prices $200,000

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CORPUS CHRISTI – The cost of an average home in Corpus Christi will exceed $200,000 before the end of the year, economic and housing industry experts say.

The average single-family home in the city fetched $199,300 in July, according to the most updated figures provided by the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University.

Jim Lee doesn’t expect the price tag to stay there.

In fact, it’ll likely inch further up before Christmas, he said.

“We’ve been seeing appreciation for months, but ($200,000) is a benchmark we’re going to hit soon,” said Lee, the chief economist at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi. “This is a head up for next year’s tax bill. It’s going to go up.”

He credited the upswing to a fierce surge in demand for homes, which he attributed to growth from the Eagle Ford Shale energy play.

The average price for a home in Corpus Christi spiked to a record $202,700 in May, but dropped to $197,000 the next month, according to the most updated figures provided by the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University. It was at $199,300 in July. Lee said prices could climb as much as 10 percent by the end of the year. And that likely will mean property taxes also will increase.

“As (home) prices go up, so too do the taxes,” Lee said. “Another 10 percent … will be a burden on homeowners. They need to be ready for it.”

In an interview Wednesday with the Caller-Times, Lee described today’s housing landscape is somewhat reminiscent of the 2004-05 home-buying market, which ended in a downturn. The difference then was the Corpus Christi housing market more closely followed the national housing trend, and was not being guided by a fertile-and-booming oil market.

Scores more residents have descended on Corpus Christi in the past two years, lured by the prospect of energy-related jobs and a cost-of-living cheaper than anything in the metropolitan areas. Economists believe as many as 10,000 jobs will spring from it during the next five to seven years.

Statewide, 81,000 single-family homes were sold in Texas in the second quarter of 2014, according to the Texas Quarterly Housing Report, issued by the Texas Association of Realtors. That represents a 1.1 percent increase from the same quarter of 2013.

A total of 2,728 homes in Corpus Christi were sold between January and July, according to the Real Estate Center, which estimated average home prices would hit $194,100 this year.

Homes also are staying on the market half the time they did three years ago. Corpus Christi’s home inventory in July was such that a home will remain on the market for 4.8 months, compared with 10 months in July 2011.

Warren Andrich, president/CEO of the Corpus Christi Association of Realtors, expected more people to take advantage of first-time homebuyers assistance programs in the coming year, even for homes below $200,000. Andrich said the market may be advantageous to homeowners looking to upgrade, but may also present greater challenges for lower- and middle-income homebuyers, who are finding it increasingly hard to purchase.

There are 1,800 to 1,900 houses available in the city, compared with 7,300 homes on the market three years ago. Homes that are considered affordable — because they are listed for a selling price between $125,000 and $160,000 — are scarce in Corpus Christi; there are roughly 200 of them available.

Lee said homeowners had to do a lot of soul searching during the 2004-05 housing downturn. At issue was whether to dump their homes ahead of what would become a major national housing crisis and a global economic recession.

His advice for those tempted to sell while the price tag climbs?

“It’s definitely a seller’s market. Definitely,” Lee said. “But if you sell, where are you going to go? No one knows how long the oil boom will last.”

via Caller Times

Retail Spending in Real Time

 

Look at the data in Real Time per second, of how we are consuming products…It’s Astounding!

Schlitterbahn Upper Padre Opens for a Preview

Club members Get a Preview Of Schlitterbahn Park

CORPUS CHRISTI – The soft opening of Schlitterbahn Upper Padre officially took place on Saturday at 10am. The park is not open to the public just yet, but it was a great time for the families that enjoyed the fun.

This opening was a private affair, mainly for members of the nearby Padre Isles Country Club and their families, as well as local distributors and suppliers.

Everyone was given a guided tour around the Schlitterbaun Beach Country Resort, to see for themselves the attractions that are complete, as well as some that are still in the works.

Stay Tuned as the Grand Opening to the Public will be announced Soon!

 

CHECK OUT ALL THE FUN

Number of Oil & Gas Jobs Continue to Rise in Texas

Eagle Ford Job Seekers Face Challenges Living in the Oil Patch

The Eagle Ford Shale boom is attracting workers in South Texas, and with the price of oil currently hovering around $100 per barrel, growth is expected to continue into the immediate future. In March of 2014, the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) said 3,200 oil and gas related jobs were added in January, for a total of 15,800 jobs over the year and an annual growth rate of 5.6%.

With statistics like those, many folks are seeking Eagle Ford jobs to fulfill their dream of a better life, support a family, or simply make a career change, but working in the South Texas oil patch can be challenging. Since the boom began, the landscape of South Texas has changed – housing shortages, overcrowded schools, and increased traffic have become the new reality for many parts of South Texas.

South Texas Housing Options

This isn’t the first oil boom the U.S. has ever experienced. As a child, I recall my grandmother telling stories about living in tent cities, as her father worked the rigs across the country during the 1930s. Today, in South Texas, there are a number of lodging options, but where oilfield workers ultimately find a place mostly depends on availability and budget.

As a result of traditional housing shortages, many south Texas oilfield workers have chosen RVs as a temporary form of housing in a slew of South Texas RV parks that have sprung up all across the region in response to the boom. Prices for slips and accommodations can vary from park to park, and generally, prices have either go up or down depending on a park’s proximity to a hot area of development in the Eagle Ford. Most oilfield workers see their RVs as a place to get cleaned up, eat, sleep and then get back to work. Since 2009, hundreds of parks all across South Texas have targeted oilfield workers as their primary customer-base.

Concerns for Oilfield Workers

Aside from housing shortages, when school starts again in September, oil patch families can expect overcrowding and possible understaffing in South Texas schools. While some oilfield workers moving to Texas have opted to bring their families with them, others have decided to leave their families at home.

Another concern for workers seeking opportunities in the Eagle Ford Shale are traffic accidents. According to the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), 3,430 fatal and serious injury crashes and 236 traffic fatalities were recorded in the Eagle Ford in 2013. The count represents a 7% increase in fatal and serious injury crashes over the previous year for the region.

Author : Kirk Eggleston EagleFordShale.com