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Opening Soon: Business growth in Downtown Corpus Christi

"We have about 15 other projects in development downtown and we are working hard to get about 30 more to that starting line," said Alyssa Barrera-Mason.

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Several more new businesses are setting up shop in the Downtown Corpus Christi area.

A big part of that momentum can also be credited with the assistance of TIRZ dollars.

If you've been downtown lately, then you've likely seen the the signs that indicate the arrival of new businesses. 

It was a no brainer for VNP Gallery owner Jimmy Canela to locate his new store in the downtown area. 

"We weighed all options, wanted to stay true to downtown, just so happen we are here on Peoples Street now," he said.

Canela's shop specializes in selling vintage clothing. He has pieces that range from the 70's all the way to the early 2000's. Right now he has a shop on Water St. but was searching for something bigger.

Out of everything, Canela said he is excited about the opportunities that come with being a downtown business.

"There's a lot of incentives you can take advantage of, the opportunities are there. It's just a mater of going and looking for them," he said. 

Hybrid Records owner Carlos Cooper didn't skip a beat when picking downtown to open his store last April. 

"I always thought downtown was kind of cool, in that there was a lot of potential after being in business for six years in another part of town," he said. "An opportunity came up to move down here. Always wanted to."

Cooper said that his storefront would not have been possible without the guidance of the Downtown Management District and reinvestment zone funds or TIRZ.

"There's a certain idea about downtown and at this point its kind of outdated and I think people are kind of realizing there's a lot of opportunity down here," he said.

Executive Director of Downtown Management Alyssa Barrera-Mason said TIRZ takes some of the dollars from the downtown property tax and reinvests the money for business owners looking to move in and be a part of the revitalization effort.

Some of the recently added new businesses downtown include Hypebyke, Cafe Calypso, Hybrid Records, Produce Bar and Produce Goods. 

More businesses are expected to open soon, including Retro Arcade, which is taking over the old site of the old Aria nightclub on Chaparral St.  There will be a new bakery called Central Kitchen which will be located next to Executive Surf Club.

"We have about 15 other projects in development downtown and we are working hard to get about 30 more to that starting line," she said.

Barrera-Mason said her team wants to continue bringing in new businesses and give new life to what it means to live and work in Downtown Corpus Christi. 

"It really is night and day downtown compared to what it was even seven years ago right.  We've seen $72-million in private sector investment just in this downtown Marina Arts District."

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