CORPUS CHRISTI (KIII NEWS) - With all the legal challenges delaying the Barisi Village project at the Pharoah Valley golf course, why is the developer not giving up?
That was the question 3News put to developer Jeff Blackard on a visit to the site Thursday morning during a walking tour of the tennis courts.
"If these homeowners here didn't want us here, if it wasn't 97-percent of the homeowners here wanting a village in their backyard, then I wouldn't be here," Blackard said.
Blackard started work on the Barisi Village project about four years ago and refuses to give up on the $300 million project despite lawsuits that have slowed the project down over the past two years.
"It hasn't stopped us," Blackard said. "I mean we're engineering, we're doing all the things. The day we get clear title, then we're moving forward."
But why hasn't he pulled out of the project? Blackard said the city is an undiscovered gem.
"It may happen this year. It may happen five years from now; but Corpus Christi can be one of the great cities in Texas," Blackard said. "You know, Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, Corpus Christi. It can be that. It has all the potential."
Blackard is so convinced of the city's potential that he is partnering with another developer on a new eight-acre project.
"Because I'm on the outside and I come in, I see things. And I travel all over the world, but North Beach is very special and done right, you know, it could be fabulous," Blackard said.
While not revealing too much, Blackard said the project is another of his retail village concepts.
Former Pharoah Valley Neighborhood Association president Steve Gomez said he also is surprised but glad that Blackard hasn't withdrawn from the project.
"This rundown neighborhood consequence is penalizing homeowners," Gomez said. "There's people that are having trouble selling their homes. There are people who aren't taking care of their yards in an incredible neighborhood because they look at this."
A group of nine homeowners are behind the lawsuits. Lawyer Gay Gilson sent a statement for the group saying the lawsuit alleges the developer spearheaded legislation to violate the deed restrictions, and that the law is unconstitutional: "We expect an outcome in which the court upholds the contract rights of the homeowners equally protecting the sanctity of every property owner's home."
Blackard said no matter what happens with the hearing that's set for April, he intends to stay to see his project through.
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