Developer shows renderings of proposed Pleasure Island waterpark

Published 12:30 am Wednesday, May 24, 2023

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A Dallas-area developer who in January announced his intentions to create a water park on Pleasure Island went before City Council Tuesday with renderings of his plans. 

“Our designers are still working on improving the designs; so the shapes, colors, designs of the slides, pools and buildings will be slightly different than the renderings as we work on making it with the latest technology,” said Selim Kiralp, owner of Selim Kiralp, LLC. “The project will take place in three phases and is designed to expand in the future.”

At the beginning of the year, Kiralp was accepted as the sole bidder on a 35.24-acre plot of land on Pleasure Island. The plot of land between Lakefront Park and Logan Park was approved by voters last year to be sold.

Selim Kiralp speaks to council Tuesday about a proposed waterpark on Pleasure Island. (Monique Batson/The News)

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In a letter dated Oct. 26, 2022, Kiralp called the Port Arthur area ripe for development.

“This hidden gem has long been recognized as the crown jewel of Port Arthur, and it is time to unlock its full potential through a transformative project that will bring joy, excitement and economic growth,” he said Tuesday of Pleasure Island. 

“I’m confident that I’m not alone when I say that it is high time the city move forward to restore Pleasure Island to its former glory, making Pleasure Island once again an important center of recreation and city pride.”

Kiralp showed renderings of a three-phase project. The first is designed to be an indoor and outdoor waterpark. The second is a hotel with a shopping area. And the third will be restaurants and additional shops.

Pictured is a rendering of a hotel that is planned to accompany the waterpark.


His original proposal covered up to 400,000 square feet that would be open more than 300 days each year, potentially attracting up to 600,000 people. 

Kiralp said in the first five years of operation, the development is projected to bring approximately 200 full-time, local jobs with an average salary of $15.80 per hour. In addition, he said, the skills required could provide opportunities for Lamar State College Port Arthur. 

“I want you all to dream big, to embrace the possibilities and to embark on this exciting journey together,” Kiralp said. “Let’s unlock the full potential of Pleasure Island and create a destination that will make Port Arthur shine as a beacon of prosperity and delight.”

Councilman Willie “Bae” Lewis inquired about the timeline. 

“I like your presentation, and it’ll work,” he said. “What’s the turnout time? Phase One, for example: How long is that going to take?”

Kiralp said it will take one year to finalize designs and two years to finalize construction.