A new year brings new growth for many Coastal Bend industries and professions. On our radar this month are three projects that continue to move forward with expansion across the area.
1. Whitecap Preserve Project Progressing
The Whitecap Preserve project, a proposed $800M master-planned community on Padre Island, continues to move forward with construction amid more support from the City of Corpus Christi.
In December, the City Council approved an ordinance extending the term for the Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone (TIRZ) #2-Island for an additional 20 years, expanding the current boundaries of the zone. The TIRZ was created to provide funding for the construction and maintenance of Packery Channel. Moving forward, it will “provide funding for infrastructure projects that will benefit North Padre Island,” city officials said. The existing boundaries were expanded to include two portions of the Whitecap Public Improvement District that were not within the TIRZ.
Developer Ashlar Development said the project at the former site of the Waves Resort Waterpark will feature more than 600 single-family residential units and five acres of commercial space, spanning 242 total acres from Aquarius Street and Commodores Drive to Whitecap Boulevard. Ashlar officials said they expect the project to reach full occupancy in seven to 10 years.
2. Driscoll Neonatal Care Center Set To Open
The Driscoll Children’s Hospital Neonatal Care Center is set to open in February at CHRISTUS Spohn Hospital-South.
Driscoll Children’s Hospital and CHRISTUS Health announced in 2022 the forming of a strategic relationship such that Driscoll will own and operate the two-dozen-bed Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) on the campus of CHRISTUS Spohn-South. The state-of-the-art NICU is designed to care for the most fragile infants and will be housed in one of the busiest birthing hospitals in the Coastal Bend.
The relationship between Driscoll and CHRISTUS is expected to create greater opportunity for joint investments in new programs and the expansion of services and resources to support existing and aligned NICU operations, officials said.
Driscoll’s is the only NICU in South Texas to achieve Level IV (Advanced Intensive Care) designation by the Texas Department of State Health Services. Driscoll Children’s serves an area of South Texas that covers more than 30 counties and over 30,000 square miles, more than any other level IV NICU in the state.
3. Cheniere LNG Eyes Expansion
Cheniere Energy, Inc. — the largest exporter of liquefied natural gas in the country — has plans to expand the footprint and resources of its 1,000-plus-acre Corpus Christi Liquefaction facility in San Patricio County.
Cheniere currently operates three liquefaction units — also called “trains” — with each producing about 5 million tonnes per annum (mtpa) of LNG.
Cheniere has filed for a review with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in its plan to add more trains, a 220,000-cubic-meter storage tank, a refrigerant storage facility and additional piping to come with an increase in production. Cheniere officials said the added infrastructure would lead to an LNG output of 25 mtpa.
The liquefaction facility employs a workforce of about 750 and has been in service since 2019. It ties in with the Cheniere Corpus Christi Pipeline, L.P., an indirect wholly owned subsidiary of Cheniere, which owns a 21.5-mile, 48-inch natural gas pipeline that connects the liquefaction facility with several interstate and intrastate natural gas pipelines.