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Posts from January 2012

The details of Tilman Fertitta’s Galveston Pleasure Pier are revealed

Posted on January 30, 2012 in

Pleasure Pier

By Whitney Radley

In May of 1948, the Galveston Pleasure Pier opened on Seawall Boulevard, as the largest amusement park of its kind in the country. It met its fate in 1961 at the hands of Hurricane Carla.

This May will mark a new page in the history books, when the 1,130-foot Pleasure Pier opens again — this time under the Landry’s name — in the original location, just in time for Memorial Day weekend.

Preliminary planning has been in the works for years, and construction commenced months ago to fix the damaged pilings (the iconic Flagship Hotel stood in the spot from 1965 until 2008, when it was severely damaged by Hurricane Ike). Tilman Fertitta, Landry’s sole owner, already runs multiple hotels and restaurants on Galveston Island, so he wanted to do something different.

“This will be a project that will totally change Seawall Boulevard,” said Fertitta during an elaborate press conference — complete with cotton candy and a popcorn machine — at the company’s Houston headquarters. In a room filled with news crews and the scent of fried food, Fertitta revealed mockups for the $60 million project.

Fertitta’s biggest concern is where he’s going to put all of the people.
Think Coney Island meets the Magic Kingdom: With carnival rides and roller coasters (there will be 16 to choose from), restaurants (including requisite turkey legs and sausage on a stick booths, plus the first Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. in Texas) and souvenir shops, Landry’s is marketing the Pleasure Pier as a fun, family-friendly destination for tourists and locals alike.

Mayor Joe Jaworski of Galveston believes that the Pleasure Pier will bring “color, shape and sizzle to the Seawall.”  “This will bring a shine and a glow that has been missing for a long time,” Jaworski said.

The pier will be open year round (daily throughout the summer months, and Friday through Sunday during the off-season) and will create more than 600 jobs. Galveston-born Fertitta expects other economic activity to follow in Pleasure Pier’s wake — and though Landry’s already owns a large chunk of real estate along Galveston’s seawall, he says he wishes the company had more.

Pleasure Pier admittance tickets will cost $8 for children and $11 for adults, or attendees can upgrade to a “Ride wristband” for full access to the pier’s amenities. A family of four can gain entrance and access to rides for $90.

The goal is to create a safe, “controlled environment,” one where admittance is monitored (real estate on the 6,500-person capacity pier is extremely valuable, says Fertitta) and parents can feel comfortable letting their children roam. And one that appeals to all.  “A family can be a young family or a couple that’s 40 years old,” Fertitta told CultureMap. He says that Pleasure Pier will offer options for everyone, from kids’ games to live music on the bandstand stage.

One might immediately worry that the revamped Pleasure Pier, in its prime but precarious location over the Gulf of Mexico, might suffer the same fate as the ventures that came before it — but Fertitta’s biggest concern is where he’s going to put all of the people.


Houston dominates master-planned community home sales list

Posted on January 30, 2012 in

Houston Business Journal by Jennifer Dawson, Reporter

The Woodlands was No. 2 on a list of top selling master-planned communities in 2011, according to a nationwide survey by John Burns Real Estate Consulting LLC.

The Woodlands and Cinco Ranch were two of the top five selling master-planned communities in the U.S. in 2011, according to data released Jan. 24 by John Burns Real Estate Consulting LLC.
The top spot went to an active adult community in the Orlando, Fla., area called The Villages, which had 2,307 home sales in 2011 — more than double that of the second place finisher. The Villages also was the top seller in John Burns’ 2010 survey with 2,208 sales.

The Woodlands ranked No. 2 based on 945 home sales, up from 786 sales in 2010. And Cinco Ranch came in third with 862 home sales, up from 823 sales in 2010.

The No. 4 slot went to Irvine Ranch in Orange County, California, with 764 home sales. Alamo Ranch in San Antonio rounded out the top five with 500 sales.

A total of 12 of the top 50 master-planned communities in the survey are located in the Houston area — the metropolitan area with the most top sellers. Other local communities include:

• Telfair ranked No. 10 with 381 sales, up from 330 in 2010
• Bridgeland was No. 13 with 334 sales, up from 285 sales in 2010
• Riverstone reached No. 15 with 302 sales, up from 225 in 2010
• Shadow Creek Ranch ranked No. 17 with 277 sales, up from 218 in 2010
• Sienna Plantation came in at No. 18 with 267 sales
• Eagle Springs was No. 25 with 234 sales
• Cross Creek Ranch tied for No. 28 with 225 sales
• Westheimer Lakes ranked No. 33 with 200 sales
• Summerwood came in at No. 36 with 188 sales
• Firethorne was No. 37 with 180 sales

A total of 133 master-planned communities were surveyed by Irvine, Calif.-based John Burns Real Estate Consulting for the second annual ranking.