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Port Aransas Looks to "Anchor" Itself with Hotel & Conference Center

For a vacation town, the economy lives or dies in a short window of time. Port Aransas is a town that relies on visitors that typically only show up for a few weeks out of the year. If summer is slow or holiday visitors aren't booking rentals, the entire city could suffer—even more so this year, as the city has been bouncing back from the serious damage Hurricane Harvey caused.

The City Council of Port Aransas is trying to fix that with a high-end hotel and conference center.

The proposal for the hotel conference center envisions a hotel with 200 guest rooms, a retail boutique, a full-service restaurant, and 21,000+ square feet of conference space. With a massive business center in Port Aransas, the town could attract year-round visitors—a stream of income that would bring more dollars into local businesses. That reliable stream of income is vital for long-term health.

'Competitors' Celebrate the Proposal

What about resorts like Cinnamon Shore or Palmilla Beach, who make their income from visitors too? They welcome the addition of a business center in Port A. Jeff Lamkin, the developer of Cinnamon Shore, feels for business owners throughout the city. "If you're a restaurateur, it's probably pretty hard to sell a piece of fish 40 weeks out of the year," he says. Lamkin believes that an influx of steady visitors is key to creating better jobs and opportunities for residents.

Gregory Carr, Asset Manager for Palmilla Beach, echoes his sentiment, saying "When all the kids are back in school, folks are not here spending money."

Slow recovery efforts have hurt the town, depriving the city of income needed for marketing, vital services, and rebuilding. The convention center would serve as an anchor to keep businesses floating through the off-season. The city will be reviewing developers from a pool of candidates at the end of this month.

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