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From left to right: Rowlett Economic Development Director Jim Grabenhorst, Rowlett Mayor Todd Gottel, Rockwall Chamber President Dana Macalik, and Bayside Developer Kent Donahue.

Bayside developer gives update at Rockwall Chamber breakfast

(ROCKWALL, TX – Jan. 19, 2017) The Rockwall Chamber of Commerce welcomed developer Kent Donahue at its quarterly partnership breakfast on Thursday, Jan. 12, to hear the latest on the 262-acre Bayside development bringing a crystal lagoon to the shores of Lake Ray Hubbard.

Donahue presented renderings of the designed resort and condominium towers anchoring the crystal lagoon on the south side of the development. Donahue said for the resort they hired marketing guru HVS, a company which hotels look to in order to determine occupancy rates, business center sizes and so forth. According to Donahue, HVS’s study recommended 500 rooms and 80,000 square feet of business center space. The resort will offer a full service spa with rental villas and another pool located in the back of the resort. The business center space will be located on the lagoon side of the resort, and guests can also enjoy their own private white sand beach and lagoon swimming areas. Donahue said they plan on delivering a look and feel of a JW Marriot or Lost Pines, maybe bumped up a notch.

Rendering of the Bayside Resort

Rendering of the Bayside condominium towers

“We’ll actually own the resort, and we’re about to do an RFP process to the major hotel brands to pick the right operator. And it’ll be a higher-end, four- or five-star type operation,” Donahue said.

The two 20-story condominium towers will include an amenities deck on the rooftop where people in the pool area can watch the state-of-the-art show fountain located in the lagoon’s center. Pricing for the condos will average $500 per square foot, said Donahue, with two, three and four bedroom condos available. The average room size is 1,200 square feet. Donahue said the condo towers will tie into the marina concept and hopes will be a fun place for people to live full time or as a second home who also want the boating experience.

Bayside acquired the marina known as Bayview Marina from owner Jim Rosenberg and are looking to turn it into a world-class marina with 1,000 covered and uncovered boat slips, a boat rental program and a new boat sales showroom. Donahue said they’re also looking at implementing a type of boat club where members can rent any type of boat they want. “The marina will be done in phases. Phase 1 is underway right now. We’re demolishing the restaurant and redoing the ship store. We’re going to configure the marina so that now it’s on the south side of the cove. We’re moving the parking and all the facilities to the north side because we’ve got a condo tower planned where the current parking is. It will be best in class, it deserves it.”

Donahue said there were 1,100 boat slips when they acquired the marina, and are in the process of demolishing several hundred of those slips. When the demolition process ends this spring there will be about 800 slips. Donahue said they are entitled to add another 200 slips, but may ask the City of Dallas for additional slips because they have the room for it and feel there will be a high demand.

Asked when he anticipates presales on condos, Donahue said he estimates within 90 days they will have a new website set up where people can find out more information on pricing, floor plans and possibly add their name to the waiting list if they’re interested in a condo.

Donahue also provided some exciting news in regards to traffic concerns on I-30 once the development is completed in a couple of years.

“TxDOT are now at a 30 percent plan set – which will be at a 60 percent plan set in March – to add three lanes on each side of I-30 that will extend across the lake,” Donahue said. “It’ll include 8-12-foot hike and bike trails. So we’ll have six new lanes plus a hike and bike trail that will start at Bass Pro and go across the lake.”

Rowlett Economic Development Director Jim Grabenhorst said the I-30 project has been a major focus for TxDOT and the North Texas Council of Governments (NTCOG).

“All of the cities along the I-30 corridor from Garland to the Hunt County line have been working together with TxDOT and NTCOG on really pushing this project,” he said. “That consortium has moved the ball forward with TxDOT to get them committed to doing this project, find the funding for it, and to understand the timing of it. It’s been a big group effort in order to get the plans done and get TxDOT focused to make this happen within a two-year time period.”

Donahue said the new hike and bike trails will open in conjunction with the opening of the mix use development on the south side of Bayside.

The south side of the development will encompass several different districts – a Wellness/Medical District, Entertainment District, Lagoon District and Park District. The latter will have high-end four- to five-story apartments with an urban feel similar to Legacy or Uptown and wrapping around a central event park.

“You’ll see Farmers Markets, movie nights out, ice rinks during Christmas time and other things like that. So there will always be something going on in our event park,” Donahue said.

The Lagoon District entails over one million square feet of mixed use/residential/office/retail space, with the condo towers anchoring the east side of the crystal lagoon and the resort on the west end. The lagoon itself is 1,600 feet long bookended by white sand beaches with a maximum depth of 14 feet, 3-4 feet in the shallow ends.

“It’s a one-time fill,” Donahue said. “The only time water consumption is used is to make up for evaporation. We can use lake water and storm runoff water. If we were to irrigate just plain grass in that entire nine-acre area it would use three times the amount of water that the crystal lagoon would use.

“Another good example from an amenities standpoint is a golf course. You’d use 30 times the amount of water for a golf course. So the crystal lagoon is actually a very green, energy-efficient product. The chemical base is very low. It uses a series of disinfection pulses and some patented chemicals to break the sediment down to the bottom, and then there’s a suction cart that keeps it constantly clean. It’ll be Caribbean blue year-round and really something special.”

Donahue said folks will be able to rent Sunfish kayaks and paddle boards to have some fun out on the lagoon. “It’ll be a limited number of people that are on the water at any one time. The thought behind that is we have a Boardwalk area that’s going to be real nice shopping, high-end restaurants, and office towers above it. We wanted to have that be a really nice viewing environment for the people having dinner up there.”

Other lagoon amenities will include water slides, swim-up bars, and rental lily pads for floating/sunbathing/relaxing. In the evening, every 10-12-minute period on the hour folks can enjoy a fully produced show courtesy the lagoon’s 300-foot-long show fountain and two giant video mist screens. Lots of fun amenities on the lake side of the lagoon will also tie into the lake environment, including an outdoor Palapa Bar, ziplining, sand volleyball and a FlowRider wave machine. An open-air trolley will be available to shuttle folks around the entire south side of the development.

Donahue said they’re currently working with several large hospital groups to anchor the 300,000 square feet of medical office planned in the Wellness/Medical District, and also have some exciting venues planned for the Entertainment District.

“We’re working with several entertainment users including a cinema grill, several high-end bowling folks such as Main Event and places like that,” he said.

According to Donahue, about a third of the south side property which will include the condo towers, the marina and several retail shops is located in Rockwall County.

Story and photo by Austin Wells, Blue Ribbon News. Renderings courtesy of Bayside. 

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