Feature Photo: The Princess Apartments, a former downtown hotel built in 1927, will be redeveloped into a luxury apartment community. Image: Google Streets.
by Adolfo Pesquera
Corpus Christi (Nueces County) — The Downtown Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone Board of Directors agreed Tuesday to provide a reimbursement agreement of up to $678,000 for the redevelopment of the former Princess Louise Hotel.
Downtown TIRZ Executive Director Alyssa Barrera Mason said the Austin-based developer plans to convert the dilapidated five-story building into a market rate, luxury apartment building.
The historic building was constructed in 1927 at the corner of Water Street and Mann Street, which at the time was where the downtown shoreline existed. It later became The Princess Apartments.
The building has been in poor condition for sometime. Fewer than 20% of tenants have been current on rent and there have been problems with squatters and vandalism, Barrera Mason said.
Concept renderings of how the building will look as The Northwater Apartments.
The developer’s project schedule has been on a fast-track. Fishpond Development LLC registered a subsidiary company, 1001 N Water Street LLC on March 2 to own the property and closed on the acquisition March 8.
Jason Alaniz, the city’s Economic Development Manager, told the board of directors that Fishpond was already applying for the building permit and expected to begin construction by early June. The development agreement, which must still get City Council approval, stipulates construction shall be complete by Jan. 31, 2022, however, Alaniz said Fishpond thinks it will be done by the fourth quarter 2021.
According to the reimbursement agreement, the total estimated project cost is $5 million. The majority of the city’s financial assistance, $580,000, will be paid out over five years.
Fishpond is the same company that in 2020 acquired the Sea Gulf Villa at 416 N. Chaparral Street., a senior housing tower downtown that they have been renovating. That project was described in a Sept. 26, 2019 VBX article.
Fishpond is renaming the property The Northwater Apartments. The floor plans will essentially remain as is, with the existing 58 apartments being renovated. The onsite swimming pool will remain.
An 18-vehicle parking lot that is across Mann Street and cater-corner to the building will be repaved. The sidewalk on that side is to be reconstructed and widened to 10 feet. The streetscape will be improved with landscaping that will include four mature (minimum 30 gallon) crape myrtle trees.
The concept for The Northwater assumes that many of the tenants will be choosing a live-work-play, pedestrian lifestyle that is generally confined to the downtown area and will not be owning an automobile. While there are to be 58 tenants, there will only be the 18 off-street parking spaces by the building.
Fishpond is working on an agreement with One Shoreline Plaza, which is one block south of Mann and Water, to provide future tenants an additional 20 parking spaces at their parking garage, Barrera Mason said.
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.