“We have about 15 other projects in development downtown, and we’re trying to get about 30 projects to the starting line,” Alyssa Barrera-Mason said.
Corpus Christi, Texas – Several new businesses are setting up shop in the downtown Corpus Christi area.
A large part of this momentum can also be attributed to the help of the TIRZ dollar.
If you’ve been downtown lately, you’ve probably seen signs of new businesses arriving.
Jimmy Canela, owner of VNP Gallery, had no trouble picking an urban location for his new store.
“We weighed all our options and wanted to stay true to downtown, which happens to be where we are right now on People’s Street,” he said.
Canela’s store specializes in vintage clothing. His work ranges from the 70’s all the way to the early 2000’s. Now he has a shop on Water Street. But looking for something bigger.
Most of all, Canela said he is excited about the opportunities that come with being a downtown business.
“There are a lot of incentives you can take advantage of, and the opportunities are out there. It’s just a matter of finding them,” he said.
Last April, Hybrid Records owner Carlos Cooper didn’t hesitate when he chose downtown to open his store.
“I’ve always thought downtown was kind of cool, because after six years of operating in another part of town, there’s a lot of potential here,” he said. “A chance came up to move here. Always wanted to.”
Cooper said his storefront would not have been possible without the guidance of the Downtown Management District and Reinvestment Zone Fund, or TIRZ.
“There’s a certain idea of downtown that’s kind of outdated at this point, and I think people kind of realize there’s a lot of opportunity here,” he said.
Alyssa Barrera-Mason, executive director of downtown management, said TIRZ takes some of the money from downtown property taxes and reinvests that money in business owners who want to move in and participate in the revitalization efforts.
Some recent additions to the city center include Hypebyke, Cafe Calypso, Hybrid Records, Produce Bar and Produce Goods.
More businesses are expected to open soon, including Retro Arcade, which will take over the site of the old Aria nightclub on Chaparral St. Next to the Executive Surf Club there will be a new bakery called Central Kitchen.
“We have about 15 other projects in development downtown and we’re trying to get about 30 to the starting line,” she said.
Barrera-Mason said her team hopes to continue to bring in new business and breathe new life into living and working in downtown Corpus Christi.
“Compared to seven years ago, it’s really night and day here. We’ve seen $72 million in private sector investment in this downtown esplanade.”
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