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Barisi Village developer seeks creation of TIRZ in Pharaoh Valley neighborhood to support project

One developer's long awaited vision to turn the old Pharaoh Valley Country Club and golf course into a thriving European style village could finally be coming to fruition.

It's a proposed multi-million dollar project we've been reporting on for almost a decade, leaving residents in the Pharaoh Valley neighborhood wondering if it'll ever become a reality.

3NEWS first reported on the development back in 2015. However, despite a majority of nearby residents supporting a possible new development, it faced delay after delay due to lawsuits by those who didn't want it to happen.

Now in 2023, those issues are now in the past and the developer is pressing forward. Jeff Blackard, who is the CEO of Blackard Companies, said he see's major potential in the 127 acres of land.

"Its been a long journey. I'm as excited about this project as any project we are doing in the world," he said.

His plan, an $800 million European style village that would include everything from a bell tower, wedding chapel to homes, hotel, retail space and a golf course.

Construction would be done in phases starting near Ennis Joslin. But before the project can get off the ground Blackard went in front of city and county leaders this week seeking the creation of a new TIRZ zone for the city, or Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone.

It would essentially allow a portion of tax dollars collected specifically from the Pharaoh Valley area to be used for Barisi Village.

"They understand what this project could mean to that area of Corpus Christi, but Corpus Christi as a whole," he said.

Assistant Corpus Christi Manager Heather Hulbert presented the details at Nueces County Commissioners Court Wednesday, explaining the TIRZ would only be used for specific features within new development, such as canals, parking, landscape and street improvements.

Up to $85 million would be broken up between three taxing entities, the city, county and Del Mar College.

"This is an area that does need to be redevelopment, great redevelopment process, walk through some of the asks, it is a negotiation process," she said.

Nueces County Pct. 4 Commissioner Brent Chesney said he would like to see the county have more of a say.

"The county is putting a lot of money in so I think we should have participation in the final say not that I don't trust my friends at the city council, but its the county's money so I'd like to be in on it," he said.

Part of the project west of Nile Drive falls within fellow commissioner John Marez' precinct.

"I've been a personal fan about this," he said. "I agree what commissioner Chesney was saying if we can find a way to be represented I think that would be important."

While no decision was made this week, Blackard will need approval from all three taxing entities, and is hoping to gain their support in the coming weeks. The total project would take about 10 years to complete.


This article originally ran here on November 15, 2023 by Bill Churchwell

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