City of Corpus Christi, Corpus Christi, TX
An action-oriented, market-driven strategy to reinvent downtown along its Corpus Christi Bayfront
Goody Clancy's Downtown Area Development Plan (adopted 2018) sets the vision for an over 200-acre downtown that encompasses the historic center, sports and entertainment areas, and the North Beach waterfront. Over decades, this city of 325,000 people grew away from its historic downtown on the Corpus Christi Bay, sprawling to over 174 square miles of land across large suburban areas. The DADP focuses on what makes the downtown area special to Corpus Christi in that environment—its walkability, accessibility, broad mix of uses, waterfront, and visitor destinations attracting over half a million people each year—and envisions how public improvements and complementary development can help make downtown a strong regional center again while improving the visitor and tourism experience. Three key factors set the stage for this opportunity: a large infrastructure project to relocate a major bridge and highway; growing regional interest in living downtown; and a new culture of collaboration among a wide range of stakeholder organizations.
The DADP is an action-oriented, market-driven strategy to generate economic growth and quality of life. It emphasizes “how” to get things done as much as “what” gets done. Since plan inauguration, the downtown area has attracted more than $700 million in recent or ongoing real estate and infrastructure investment, in addition to the $1 billion state bridge project that is reshaping downtown’s gateways.
The DADP’s practical, effective implementation strategies were based on real estate market and development feasibility analysis, attention to realistic implementation resources and policies, and stakeholder enthusiasm. Analysis revealed market potential over 5-7 years for 1,850 additional housing units—a number that can triple the number of residents in Downtown’s core, and opened the community’s eyes to Downtown’s potential as a vibrant neighborhood.
Concrete results from the DADP planning effort that are already achieving plan goals include:
- An increased pace of development project proposals moving forward (9 major projects in 18 months). These include several hundred housing units in new or rehabilitated buildings, two new hotels, and a patio-style food truck and bar venue that replaced a vacant and landmark inter-city bus station.
- A development proposal to restore and redevelop an abandoned former county courthouse, a prominent eyesore.
- Pressure on owners of prominent vacant properties to reinvest or sell.
- Major street reconstructions with improved streetscape, including improved street trees, paving, and pedestrian and bike facilities, and new public park space for the waterfront boulevard.
- Follow-up downtown parking study completed, resulting in a three-year action plan guiding public parking pricing and management.
- The Downtown Management District and the city’s marina commission collaborated on a shared branding initiative—the Marina Arts District—launched and effectively drawing people to the area. A larger branding effort for the greater downtown area is under way.
- New street cleaning equipment acquired and implemented through partnership between the City and Downtown Management District.