Demographic data showing that Texas’ major metros have been receiving a flood of disaffected Californians is excellent news for the Texas coast – with Apple, Exxon and eBay collectively investing more than $1 billion and bringing thousands of jobs, and the cities kicking in an equal amount of infrastructure investment.
With that much wealth so nearby, there will be new residents in San Antonio, Austin and Houston who will want a second home. It is up to coastal communities to convince those residents to invest in the coast instead of its biggest rival – the Texas Hill Country.
While metro residents love to rent our beach homes, there just isn’t enough reason yet for second home shoppers or investors to buy here. That’s because of problems we have with infrastructure and the lack of comprehensive zoning and development plans for some areas. No one wants to invest in a $20 million high-rise that could be next door to a shabby fast food restaurant, or that has to ask residents to dodge cars to get to the beach. And cities have to insist on modernizing — widening roads, regulating signage, burying power lines and investing in better connectivity for high technology.
The city of Corpus Christi has taken a good first step with its plan for the Upper Padre-Schlitterbahn area, and I think other communities should take note. The Texas coast has an image problem every time a hurricane or oil spill strikes, and we need to project a unified front to show these new investors that we are a resort-quality area that is here to stay with our local government’s backing.