Corpus Christi Planning Commission Recommends Zoning for North Beach Hotel Project
Feature Photo (above): The project site where a local developer plans to construct a multi-story, 52-room beachside hotel on North Beach. Image: Google Streets.
UPDATE: 12-11-2019 — This article was updated to better identify the development’s ownership and to report on pending litigation related to a trademark.
Originally Posted: 11-22-2019
by Adolfo Pesquera
Corpus Christi (Nueces County) — The city Planning Commission recommended a zoning change for a 1-acre tract of sand on North Beach that will allow construction of a 52-room beachside hotel.
The commissioners followed city staff recommendation and voted for the change from CR-1 (commercial resort) to CR-3. The change allows higher density development. There was no discussion about the project at the Nov. 13 hearing.
The project site has an address of 213 Kleberg Place. It is located just south of the Sea Shell Inn Motel and east of the Yo Philly Cheese Steaks restaurant.
The development plan includes surface parking for 60 vehicles.
According to the city staff summary, “It will consist of a single building, approximately 60 feet in height. The ground floor will be used as parking and the structure will be elevated to meet base flood elevation requirements.”
North Beach is vulnerable to tidal surges if a tropical storm or hurricane comes through.
Illustrated rendering of the Sapphire hotel. Courtesy: SCCBH LLC.
“Development includes a pool in front of the building on the beach side. The hotel office will be open 24 hours a day and the hotel will employ approximately 20 employees total during the various shifts,” the staff report continues.
Right-of-way dedication that was required with the platting reduced the buildable area and has limited the flexibility of the hotel design. The requested change of zoning will allow for the space needed for the development.
According to staff research, there has not been any development on the site since North Beach was annexed by the city in 1935.
The owner of record is SCCBH LLC. County land appraisal records show this company acquired the property in August 2018, apparently from a physician based in Midland-Odessa. However, that is not the developer.
The ownership name, SCCBH LLC, refers to an acronym that stands for Sapphire Corpus Christi Beach Hotel, a name that was registered to be trademarked February 2018.
The developer controlling that name and trademark application is Dennis Patel of Corpus Christi. But the trademark was challenged in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office a year ago Nov. 13 by a subsidiary of Universal Studios, which owns the Loews Sapphire Falls Resort at Universal Orlando in Orlando, Florida.
Patel hired a patent lawyer from St. Paul, Minnesota and the case is pending trial. Patent trials are scheduled over a period of many months and this one is not expected to conclude until at least December 2020.
Adolfo Pesquera (Reporter/Editor) is a veteran news journalist. He has worked for Hearst Corp., American Lawyer Media, News Corp and Freedom Communications. His work has been published in newspapers and magazines across the USA. He is a journalism graduate of UT-RGV. He writes, edits and creates digital pages for VBX.