Corpus Christi, Texas — For the past two years, the Newchest County Commissioner has discussed the redevelopment of the Bob Hall Pier, which was destroyed by Hurricane Hanna in 2020.
The project took a step forward on Monday, when commissioners voted 3-2 to convert the restaurant on the pier into a two-story facility instead of a single-story building. One of the main topics during the county commissioner’s meeting was the cost difference between adding a second floor and expanding the first floor.
“I don’t think there’s much of a cost difference between ups and downs, but that’s about it,” said Commissioner Brent Chesney. “We got it, it was there, we ran it on it. to vote, sometimes you don’t get a 5-0 vote, that’s the way it is. We’re going to move on and when we’re done it’s going to be a great dock and it’s going to take a while because we’ve got to get it done it is good.”
Chesney raised concerns about the two-story facility, namely its safety and ADA accessibility, but voted in favor.
“People made it clear that’s what they wanted, and the park board voted for it,” he said. “I do believe in representative government, and sometimes you have to do what the people you represent want. I think that’s what they want, so that’s why I do it.”
One concern raised by a civics spokesperson is that the county uses taxpayer dollars for restaurants — the current tenant is Mikel Mays.
“A lot of people don’t understand why a private community member would receive so much taxpayer money for a restaurant that doesn’t belong,” Rachel Caballero said.
Chesney said the facility was not exclusively for Mikel Mays, but also for any future tenants, and he would make sure any tenants pay a reasonable rent for the facility.
“We’re building a facility for any vendor, and one thing I did yesterday, I hope to address those concerns, I put a motion for an independent analysis of the vendor’s content and a fair market in this space is,” He says.
Chesney wants the marina and restaurant to be an important source of revenue for the county.
One question that was raised was whether the restaurant’s second floor would make the facility more vulnerable to storms like the one that destroyed the marina. Breanna Bailey, chair of the Department of Civil and Architectural Engineering at Texas A&M Kingsville, said building the building as two stories shouldn’t be much different from just one.
“The higher you go, the stronger winds you get, so they need to adapt to that,” she said. “However, I don’t think it’s an unmanageable design issue.”
The Nueces County Commissioner will have the next discussion on Bob Hall Pier on October 12. Chesney believes the restaurant’s storm rating will be discussed during the meeting.