New hopes for old courthouse in Corpus Christi

The Old Nueces County Courthouse in Corpus Christi could still have a future in redevelopment that could come downtown once the old Harbor Bridge is demolished. Courtesy photo

By Suzanne Freeman

The new harbor bridge may have given the incentive to advance plans to renovate Old Nueces County’s courthouse. Once the old harbor bridge is demolished, an additional 11 acres of adjoining land will open in addition to the courthouse at 1100 N. Mesquite St. in downtown Corpus Christi. The building has been closed since the district offices moved to their current location at 901 Leopard St. in 1977.

Nueces County, the City of Corpus Christi, the Port of Corpus Christi, the Downtown Management District and the Corpus Christi Metropolitan Planning Organization are working together to acquire the land. The package is divided into multipurpose advertising.

Representatives from each of these units formed the Harbor Bridge Right-of-Way Coalition in 2018. Your job is to apply for the rehabilitation of around 46 hectares of land that is now in the right of way of the current bridge.

Nueces County owns the courthouse and has so far been unsuccessful in finding investors and developers capable of embarking on an expensive renovation project. At the beginning of 2018, the attempt to transform the structure into a hotel failed. Then-District Judge Loyd Neal attempted to sell the property to the Ed Rachal Foundation for $ 1.5 million in taxes. The foundation planned to demolish the building.

Barbara Canales successfully ran for district judge that same year and made the renovation of the building part of her campaign platform.

With the expansion of the adjoining area, the courthouse has new potential. It could become the centerpiece of an attraction area that includes mixed use, residential, retail, office, open space, and a cart.

The next step in the process is an April letter to the Texas Department of Transportation asking for the right of way to be quickly declared as surplus and cleared through deed transfers to local public jurisdictions.

The courthouse is structurally sound, according to a study recently submitted to district commissioners in December.

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