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Old 08-09-2009, 02:59 PM
 
Location: Corpus Christi, TX
14 posts, read 101,017 times
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CORPUS CHRISTI — The long, tumultuous effort to save and reuse Memorial Coliseum continues unresolved. In the past five years, plans have been accepted only to fall apart or be rejected by the community before they could begin. Now, in what the mayor promises is a last attempt to find a use for the aging city building, the city has five proposals to consider.
A committee, made up largely of architects, real estate professionals and elected officials, will select finalists from the pool. Those finalists will go before the City Council in September and, if a winning bidder meets its proposed schedule, ground could break on a new coliseum development in the fall.
If the council rejects all the ideas, a majority of members have said they are prepared to demolish the building.
Here’s a look at the proposals:
Brass Real Estate
Brass Real Estate’s plan would turn the coliseum into a public ice skating rink.


Brass Real Estate’s plan for the coliseum combines ideas long circulated as an option for the building’s reuse, with renovated bayfront parks, entertainment and residential. The coliseum’s exterior would be repaired and repainted within a year and become a public ice skating rink and permanent home for the Corpus Christi IceRays minor league hockey team.
White stucco shops, restaurants, a movie theater and a large parking garage would line the realigned Shoreline Boulevard. Kiko’s Mexican restaurant, Beamer’s Pizza and Burgers and Shoreline Cycles all expressed interest in opening locations in the new center, members of the Brass team said.
The proposal to remove the IceRays from their current venue, the city-owned American Bank Center, could encounter resistance because it would take business away from a taxpayer-supported venue that’s already struggling to make a profit.
Diane Gonzalez Cibrian, a Corpus Christi native and former San Antonio councilwoman working with Brass on the project, said the plan would keep the IceRays in Corpus Christi.
“The IceRays have made it very clear that if they didn’t get another venue, they are leaving,” she said. “They’re losing hundreds of thousands of dollars at the American Bank Center. It’s just a matter of if they’re going to move locally or somewhere else.”
Brass’ plan would also convert McCaughan Park south of the coliseum to a splash park, redistribute some park land throughout the development for a boardwalk, fitness trails and plazas, and redevelop Sherrill Park as a veterans memorial park.
The group plans to partner with the Regional Transportation Authority to build a parking garage on site.
Brass’ plan asks the city for the least amount of money, but the developers also want to take advantage of several types of city tax incentives to recoup costs for renovating the coliseum and infrastructure upgrades.
DEVELOPER: Brass Real Estate
PROJECT NAME: Playa del Mar
CONCEPT: 125-room resort hotel, shops, restaurants, ice skating rink, movie theater, apartments, parking garage, home of IceRays hockey team
THE PLAYERS: Rick Rodriguez, chairman and CEO, Brass Real Estate; Tim Lange, owner Corpus Christi IceRays; John Michael, Naismith Engineering; Timothy Cone, lead architect, Structure REDS of San Antonio
PLANS FOR COLISEUM BUILDING: Public ice skating rink and home for IceRays
PLANS FOR WAR MEMORIAL: Rededicate veterans memorial plaque to coliseum, make enhancements at veterans’ park
TOTAL COST: $92.2 million
REQUESTED CITY INVESTMENT: About $2 million, or whatever demolition costs of building would be
REQUESTED CITY INCENTIVES: Tax increment financing zone, sales tax reimbursement, sales tax funding, tax abatements, job growth tax funding
FINANCING ASSURANCE: Letter given from NorthMarq Capital
TIMELINE: Start November 2009; complete November 2012
NRP Group
Under the proposal from NRP Group, the coliseum would be torn down except for two bays of the roof structure.


For the third time, San Antonio-based NRP is asking the city for the chance to develop the coliseum into a mixed-use residential area. The plan first was proposed more than three years ago and was submitted again last year. Each time the group submitted its proposal, little changed from the initial plans.
NRP specializes in affordable housing but has partnered this time with the architects who designed La Cantera shopping center in San Antonio and local commercial real estate agents The Clower Co. to bolster its plans for shops and restaurants on the first floor.
“Our message has been consistent,” NRP project manager Debra Guerrero said. “We believe in order to have an economically viable downtown, you have to increase the population.”
The plan has changed to now only include a portion of the coliseum’s roof, which would arch over an area called Memorial Plaza.
Part of the group’s financing is dependent on a paid parking garage, which would charge about $8 per day. The garage would be used by visitors to the beach and the shops and restaurants, along with apartment residents who would pay for a space with their rent.
DEVELOPER: NRP Group
PROJECT NAME: Vista de la Bahia
CONCEPT: Apartments with ground-floor stores, restaurants and office space with public park areas
THE PLAYERS: NRP Group of San Antonio, The Clower Co. of Corpus Christi, Alamo Architects of San Antonio
PLANS FOR COLISEUM BUILDING: Torn down except for two bays of the roof structure, with metal frame repainted and used as a shade structure for park area
PLANS FOR WAR MEMORIAL: Create a memorial plaza with landscaping, the plaque and a memorial wall
TOTAL COST: $57.4 million
REQUESTED CITY INVESTMENT: $10.75 million, plus asking city to build $10 million parking lot
REQUESTED CITY INCENTIVES: Long-term lease at minimal cost, waive development fees
FINANCING ASSURANCE: NRP will apply for bonds, selling tax credits and seeking funding from the city. Estimated seven months to secure all capital.
TIMELINE: Start September 2009; construction complete December 2012; leasing of units to begin January to August 2013
Leisure Horizons
Most of the coliseum would be used as a 2,000-seat arena under a plan from Leisure Horizons.


In May, Leisure Horizons president Joseph Prevratil withdrew his offer to redevelop the coliseum into an entertainment complex after months of back-and-forth between him and former Mayor Henry Garrett.
Now, Prevratil’s offer is back on the table, with a letter of financial assurance that was missing last time.
Garrett had asked Prevratil for a letter of credit to prove he could finance his compilation of entertainment attractions, which Prevratil never provided because he said he needed a signed lease beforehand.
The letter of financial assurance is different, and contingent on the lease, Prevratil said.
Prevratil’s plan has changed only slightly, with less space devoted to a farmers market and more areas for kiosks selling international merchandise.
The development would include meeting rooms, a special effects theater, a gaming area, exhibit space, an entertainment center, a 2,000-seat arena and a food court.
The new plans also scrap the idea for a carousel and kiosk stores on a public pier in front of the coliseum.
“You can see bits and pieces of these types of attractions all over, but it’s not all packaged together,” Prevratil said. “I came back (to Corpus Christi). I’d like to stay back.”
Prevratil’s plan asks the city for $5 million to offset what he said will be nearly $9 million in upgrades to the coliseum. In return, he would pay the city $1 million a year in rent.
Prevratil once managed the Queen Mary ship in Long Beach, Calif. and worked for Six Flags and managed hotels.
DEVELOPER: Leisure Horizons
PROJECT NAME: The Spirit of Corpus Christi
CONCEPT: Mixed-use entertainment complex with a special effects theater, exhibit space, arena, food court, game center and meeting rooms
THE PLAYERS: Joseph Prevratil, president, Leisure Horizons; John DeCure, lead architect
PLANS FOR COLISEUM BUILDING: Most of the coliseum would be used as a 2,000-seat arena; building would be expanded for other attractions
PLANS FOR WAR MEMORIAL: Create a memorial fountain in front of coliseum with light and music shows
TOTAL COST: $25 million
REQUESTED CITY INVESTMENT: $5 million
REQUESTED CITY INCENTIVES: Development fees waiver, long-term lease
FINANCING ASSURANCE: Letter given from Real Estate Mortgage Corp.
TIMELINE: Start September 2009; complete June 2012
National Swimming Center Corp.
The National Swimming Center Corp. proposal expands the coliseum to make room for a competition-size pool and seating.


The Austin nonprofit group plans to make Corpus Christi a destination for competitive swimming with its remodeled, expanded coliseum that will house local, regional and national competitions.
The idea, which surfaced nearly a year ago, received an enthusiastic response from previous City Council members, some of whom met with corporation members about the idea while still negotiating a contract with Leisure Horizons.
The plan has its critics, who have pointed out the group hasn’t built a swimming pool before and has released few details about the company.
The group plans to fundraise for the project, including possibly selling naming rights to Toyota or Speedo for millions of dollars, said John McIlhargy, director of facilities development for USA Swimming.
Andy Sarwal, the corporation’s director and the CEO of Alexandrina Development, defended those criticisms when he addressed the coliseum committee last week.
“At the end of the day, all it takes to build a swim center is money,” he said. “We have the ability to fund it and raise that money.”
The group is working on a feasibility study with the city of Cape Coral, Fla., for a larger-scale project. The city and corporation split the cost of the $100,000 study.
The group would charge a fee to use the pool and anticipates making about $500,000 in profits.
The group says it is also in negotiations with some downtown landowners. Sarwal wouldn’t identify them. In the proposal, the group wants to lease 28 acres surrounding the coliseum, not all of which is city-owned land. The group’s development partner, Alexandrina Development, is building a large mixed-use development near downtown Austin that originally was to house a swimming center. That project has been in the works since 2006.
DEVELOPER: National Swimming Center Corp.
PROJECT NAME: The Coliseum at Corpus Christi
CONCEPT: Sports and hotel/conference center with entertainment, retail, restaurants and swimming school
THE PLAYERS: Andy Sarwal, CEO, Alexandrina Development; Sal Panico, National Swimming Center Corp. director, engineer; Ambrose ”Rowdy” Gaines, former Olympic swimmer; John McIlhargy, USA Swimming director of facilities development
PLANS FOR COLISEUM BUILDING: Competitive swimming pool inside expanded building with seating
PLANS FOR WAR MEMORIAL: New veterans memorial and park at southern end of development
TOTAL COST: $88 million
REQUESTED CITY INVESTMENT: $7 million
REQUESTED CITY INCENTIVES: Lease of 28 acres surrounding the coliseum, development fee
FINANCING ASSURANCE: Letter given from CAPMARK attesting to Alexandrina Development’s ability to complete the project
TIMELINE: Start first quarter of 2010; complete end of second quarter 2012
Perez and Huffmeyer
A plan by two Corpus Christi residents would convert the coliseum into a museum to house the Columbus replica ships.


Local residents Teresa Perez and Kathleen Huffmeyer submitted an idea for the coliseum to house the Columbus replica ships and a museum. A similar idea also was suggested five years ago. Their plan would showcase the ships and possibly other historic exhibits, and have a restaurant and a research library.
Perez and Huffmeyer didn’t provide the city with any funding plans, project costs or requests for city incentives. They did suggest the city could pay for the project with government grants.
Two of the Columbus ships are at the Corpus Christi Museum of Science and History on concrete support structures and one is docked at the city marina. They need repairs estimated as much as $3 million. The three ships were given to the city by Spain after a tour commemorating the 500th anniversary of Christopher Columbus’ voyage.
The proposal was considered nonresponsive by city staff because it didn’t include information requested by the city.
DEVELOPER: Teresa Perez and Kathleen Huffmeyer
PROJECT NAME: Memorial Coliseum World Explorers Museum
CONCEPT: Showcase the Columbus ships with other exhibits, shops, a restaurant and research libraries
THE PLAYERS: Teresa Perez and Kathleen Huffmeyer, Corpus Christi residents
PlLANS FOR COLISEUM BUILDING: Convert it into museum
PLANS FOR WAR MEMORIAL: None
TOTAL COST: None given
REQUESTED CITY INVESTMENT: None described
REQUESTED CITY INCENTIVES: None described
FINANCING ASSURANCE: None given
TIMELINE: None given
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Old 08-09-2009, 09:38 PM
 
Location: Austin, TX
1,374 posts, read 2,788,703 times
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Ha, I was going to post the same thread. I am really digging the Playa Del Mar proposal. Its very nice and would add life to the downtown area. It would also bring in a higher population downtown and promote tourism. That is one major thing that downtown CC is lacking in. Nobody lives or plays there.

Not only that, the whole area would be pedestrian friendly and would have greenery. Plus the Ice Rayz would be in the coliseum.

My number two choice would be the NRP proposal.
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Old 08-10-2009, 08:04 AM
 
2,027 posts, read 6,512,662 times
Reputation: 635
I really like Brass Fund's proposal! The company has done some really nice projects here in San Antonio!

This proposal, though the most expensive, would be the most beneficial to the area. It promotes fitness, provides recreation and entertainment, expands hospitality, includes residential apartments, and offers more shopping and dining options. This dense mixed-use development could really bolster Corpus Christi!
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Old 08-10-2009, 10:32 AM
 
15,247 posts, read 17,795,893 times
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I'd vote for Playa Del Mar first and NRP second. I think the other two projects sound much shakier in terms of experience of the developers and financing.

Anyone wanna take bets of whether ANY of them will get done? It wouldn't surprise me at all if CC is having the same discussion five years from now.
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Old 08-10-2009, 06:32 PM
 
245 posts, read 739,804 times
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New leaders means new leadership. I have confidence that the new city council won't let this sit and fester. I expect construction to start by the end of the year like the mayor is proposing. I pick the Brass or NRP developments. Both bring residential. Nice set of options the city has to choose from. Let's hope I'm enjoying one of them a year or two.
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Old 08-10-2009, 10:48 PM
 
Location: Austin, TX
1,374 posts, read 2,788,703 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tgannaway89 View Post
I really like Brass Fund's proposal! The company has done some really nice projects here in San Antonio!

This proposal, though the most expensive, would be the most beneficial to the area. It promotes fitness, provides recreation and entertainment, expands hospitality, includes residential apartments, and offers more shopping and dining options. This dense mixed-use development could really bolster Corpus Christi!
It would be expensive to the developers, not the city. The city would only have to pay about equal the cost of demolition. 2 million.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Marlow View Post
IAnyone wanna take bets of whether ANY of them will get done? It wouldn't surprise me at all if CC is having the same discussion five years from now.
I have very little confidence in anything happening at all. I will believe in it when I see construction. This city has a long history of failed proposals, runaway developers, and discouraging growth.

Hope something does come out of this for once though!
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Old 08-15-2009, 01:02 AM
 
7 posts, read 16,096 times
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The Brass Real Estate proposal is the only one, I believe, that will make a huge impact on the area. I personally would love to see an ice skating rink. I recently returned to CC and have a young adult daughter who is a competitive figure skater and coach who won't consider joining us here unless there is an ice skating rink. The key to the success of the Brass plan is that it combines residential, recreational and retail - very exciting!
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Old 08-15-2009, 05:37 PM
 
245 posts, read 739,804 times
Reputation: 128
This council will make somehthing happen. Plus, I don't think the citizens of CC will allow this new council to waffle on this new round of proposals. I think there would be some serious chaos and angry people. The citizens are sick of it and are finally trying to hold the elected officials accountable. I'm confident ground will be broken by end of year or they will just demolish it. Either way, I'll be one happy camper.
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Old 08-15-2009, 10:26 PM
 
Location: Austin, TX
1,374 posts, read 2,788,703 times
Reputation: 1435
Quote:
Originally Posted by bb54321 View Post
This council will make somehthing happen. Plus, I don't think the citizens of CC will allow this new council to waffle on this new round of proposals. I think there would be some serious chaos and angry people. The citizens are sick of it and are finally trying to hold the elected officials accountable. I'm confident ground will be broken by end of year or they will just demolish it. Either way, I'll be one happy camper.
Ehh... I doubt anything will happen at all. Take a look at this article from the Caller Times:

No sure solutions for coliseum redevelopment : Corpus Christi Memorial Coliseum | Caller-Times |

When the city council is more worried about a view of the ocean than all of the positives this will bring, you know nothing is ever going to be constructed. Our city leaders are a bunch of idiots...

I really don't know why they are worried about lack of parking. Downtown is full of empty lots and parking meters. Idiots.
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