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Nueces Co. Courthouse Sale Falls Through

The ghosts at the old Nueces County Courthouse won’t be moved out anytime soon. Sale of the courthouse fell through Aug. 13 when the Nueces County Commissioners voted to kill the deal over slow payment of back taxes. Courtesy photo

Plans to renovate the old Nueces County Courthouse into a boutique hotel came to an end Monday, Aug. 13, when county commissioners voted to terminate an agreement to sell. Commissioners declared the deal between the county and Nueces County Courthouse Development Partners LLC null and void when the company did not meet a Friday, Aug. 10, deadline to pay $1.5 million in back taxes.

Negotiations to pay $600,000 by 10 a.m. Aug. 13 led to the vote when the company could only come up with $100,000.

“That’s not satisfactory,” said Nueces County Judge Loyd Neal, who set the deadline for payment.

Just two months ago, commissioners and representatives of the company buying the courthouse closed the sale during a public signing ceremony with congratulations all around for the deal. Taxing entities in Nueces County would get the taxes owed by the building’s previous owners, and developers, Coon Restoration, would get a prime piece of real estate for a sales price of $1,000 — plus the $1.5 million in back taxes.

The development partners planned to renovate the old courthouse, 1100 N. Mesquite St. in Corpus Christi, into a four-star hotel with 159 rooms. The building has not been occupied since 1977. Cost of renovation is estimated at $52 million. Plans included a full-service restaurant and bar, meeting spaces, and ample parking. The projected time for completion was 15 months.

High renovation costs are due to the building’s protected status with the Texas Historical Commission, which has control of the 1914 building until 2027. The building cannot be demolished, and any renovations will have to meet historic guidelines.

Nueces County Courthouse Development Partners was formed by Steve Coon of Coon Restoration, Steve Goodman, a financier from Fort Worth, and Jim McCue, a construction contractor with Coon Restoration.

According to news reports, the company was waiting on a $20 million construction loan to go through before making the tax payment.

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