Timeline for lease of marina buildings not yet set; Port Arthur shares some Pleasure Island benchmarks

Published 12:18 am Thursday, June 13, 2024

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There is no set timeline for work to begin on a restaurant and adjacent storage inside the marina on Pleasure Island.

The previous tenants of the buildings, Port Arthur Yacht Club, were given an extension on when to vacate the property they have been at for more than 50 years.

That date is Aug. 29, according to information from the City of Port Arthur.

A lease is under negotiation between the City of Port Arthur and businessman Selim Kiralp for the buildings at the marina on Pleasure Island. The buildings were home to Port Arthur Yacht Club for more than 50 years. (Mary Meaux/The News)

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City Manager Ron Burton is hoping for a solution that is favorable for the Yacht Club and the person who will lease the property from the city of Port Arthur, businessman Selim Kiralp.

Several Port Arthur Newsmedia calls to Selim Kiralp LLC Investments, a real estate investments and developments holding company owned by Kiralp, were not returned this week.

Pleasure Island Director George Davis said Kiralp intends to use the larger of the two buildings for a restaurant. For this, the building is going to need renovation and updating.

The smaller of the two buildings, which is basically boat storage, is going to be used for water sports and jet-ski rental, city officials said.

Last year Kiralp presented his intentions to create a water park on Pleasure Island and was the sole bidder for the 35-acre plot of land near the vicinity of the marina buildings. The plan included an indoor and outdoor water park, hotel and shopping areas, restaurants and additional shops.

Davis said the waterpark proposal is not off the table, as Kiralp now wants to first get the two buildings up and running. If so, this would show he is serious about the investment.

While Kiralp is set to lease the two buildings from the city, the issue is still under negotiation. That part could take four to six weeks, Davis said.

Once the contract is in place, Kiralp is expected to employ engineers to check the buildings for the renovations. For example, the main building does not have indoor restrooms, Davis said.

And, in order for the building to become a restaurant, there needs to be a commercial kitchen.

Members of the Yacht Club have expressed their disappointment in losing the lease. The club hosts a number of public events. The most recent was the June 1 Youth Sailing Day.

The event included 30 children and 20 adults from Port Arthur, Nederland, Port Neches and Groves, according to the club’s social media page.

The volunteer corps in the event includes Yacht Club members, local EMTs, a tanker captain, refinery workers, Boy Scout leads, active, retired military veterans and various others.

The Yacht Club also takes part in Junior Sailing Camp, Port Arthur Public Library Summer Reader Rewards Day, partnerships with Sea Scouts and American Heritage Girls, beautification of Pleasure Island Marina and hosts an open house for Tour de Groves, motorcycle clubs, Houston Yacht Club, and Lake Charles Yacht Club.