All photos courtesy of Cinnamon Shore, taken in late September, 2017

Port Aransas on Mustang Island off Corpus Christi is home to Cinnamon Shore, one of the most beautiful coastal real estate developments in Texas. This area was an early scene of disaster after disaster that has happened in recent weeks, each event supplanting news coverage of the prior. We tapped Jeff Lamkin of Sea Oats Group, the project developer, for an update as to current conditions of this luxury vacation home destination.

The bad news is the town of Port Aransas took a beating from Hurricane Harvey — no question. But the good news is these coastal dwellers are tough, the community has come together, critical businesses are reopening, and recovery is underway. Cinnamon Shore itself, situated south of the central area of the town, sustained minimal damage and has repaired what little there was. Read on for details and learn why this season might just be the best time to visit “Port A,” as locals call it:

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Photos: courtesy of Cinnamon Shore

Wish you had a Seaside-style beach house right here in Texas? It’s not too late to build or buy in the picturesque  Mustang Island development Cinnamon Shore, modeled after luxury coastal lifestyle communities found along Highway 30A in the Florida panhandle.

The setting: the south end of Port Aransas on an 18-mile barrier island off Corpus Christi Bay, famed for its beaches, fishing, water sports, and natural areas. The style: think Gulf Coast vernacular; Cinnamon Shore was the setting for a Southern Living Magazine’s Idea House in 2009, and Coastal Living Magazine’s Showhouse in 2015.  Developers recently announced the opening of their final phase.

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What does Cinnamon Shore have to offer? Single-family houses, townhomes, and condos done in dreamy Gulf Coast cottage design on a waterfront, pedestrian-friendly campus built around a town center with an entertainment stage, restaurants, retail shops,  swimming pools,  stocked lakes, and a fishing pavilion, a beautiful boardwalk to the beach, and, oh, yes, even …
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Let’s play a little Jeopardy, OK?

Corpus Christi, Rockport, Port Aransas, Mustang Island

What are fabulous Texas Gulf Coast destinations?

Yes, that’s correct! These are all great cities and places on the Texas coast that are quick, accessible getaways that won’t break the bank. We’re talking about towns full of culture, history, and wildlife. Great places with tons of things to do, with great restaurants, fantastic fishing, and the laid-back Gulf Coast vibe.

We’ve picked five properties that are available now in this area, and if we could, we’d be spending this long weekend at any one of them!

1) 60 Blue Heron Drive

Mustang 1

2) 307 Bayside Drive

Mustang 2

3) 8 Edgewater

Mustang 3

4) 140 Bay Harbor Drive

Mustang 4

5) 13901 Cabana North Avenue

Mustang 5

The folks from Cinnamon Shore are coming to Dallas on Monday, January 30. Email me if you’d like to come & learn more!

One of my favorite vacation home destinations is Cinnamon Shore on Mustang Island in southern Texas, just about an hour south of Corpus Christi, and maybe five miles west of the charming fishing village of Port Aransas. It’s a budding beach community development and poster child for New Urbanism. CS captured my heart when I visited last March. If you’ve ever been to Seaside, Florida, or the St. Joe clone of Watercolor, you will see that Cinnamon Shore is a Seaside clone in Texas. And there is nothing wrong with cloning something that works! Seaside was a planned beachfront community that remains one of the biggest second home real estate and New Urbanism success stories in the U.S. If you’ve ever driven down Route 30A outside of Panama City Beach, you will see a stretch of Gulf shore developed from my hearthrob Alys Beach to Rosemary Beach, Seaside to Watercolor. Cinnamon Shore brings the same flavor, style and quality of construction to the Texas coast.

Here’s what intrigues me, however. The Florida gulf coast is a three hour flight, or a good 12 hour drive. Cinnamon Shore has great accessibility from Dallas via Continental or Southwest Air Lines (from Love Field) in about ONE HOUR, or an eight hour drive by car. That’s do-able in one day.

We visited last March. I found a utopia filled with parks, ponds, and a surprisingly great beach. No sugar white sands like you find on the Florida panhandle, but a very long, broad beach with great waves. And CLEAN! Having summered in Maine almost every year of my married life, I am a total beach snob but Mustang Island beaches are easy on the feet, clean as a whistle and have great surf. 

And here’s what you cannot do anywhere else but in Texas: take a golf cart to the beach!

Cinnamon Shore is a 62 acre Master Planned Community. There are others around, not as nice. You drive in off the main drag, Highway 361, on Mustang Island and enter a cloistered paradise of paver sidewalks, beautiful lakes, parks, multiple pools, a pool house, a fitness center, 2 Dune Crossovers accessing the beach and a Town Center (almost complete and again, very similar to Seaside) which will feature shops and restaurants.

Like Seaside and Watercolor, everything is a five minute walk or zippy bike ride. This is a place where you can park your car and never touch your keys the whole time you are visiting. When my children were young, I used to beg for car-free vacations, since my entire middle life was spent chauffeuring children.

Cinnamon Shore is still under construction. Once complete, it will encompass about 200 single family homes and 56 condos. Phase 1 is fully developed with construction under way for homes and amenities. Home-site prices, that is raw land, range from $125,000-$650,000, the less expensive lots further away from the water, the higher prices skirting the dunes. The developer allows a 2 year timeframe in which to begin construction. Prices for completed homes begin at $379,900 to over $1 million for gulf front properties. And I found a 600 square foot, one bedroom condo on the first floor for $206,000! In any other  Gulf Front community that would be a fractional!

The developer is the Sea Oats Group, from Atlanta. In this day and age you want to buy from a developer that has kicked a few cans, so to speak, and invested in the community. Sea Oats is an investment private equity fund that has stakes in not just real estate but electronic medical records for physicians as well as second home communities across South Texas, luxury homes in Atlanta and vacation homes in Cabo San Lucas.

Last July, CS christened Lisabella’s, a Port Aransas fixture since 2005. The restaurant moved from its former home in the city of Port A right to Cinnamon Shore to bring homeowners and visitors fresh Gulf seafood. Owned by Kris and Lisa Amundsen, Lisabella’s is a casual dining establishment that serves fine coastal cuisine for three meals a day plus daily gourmet coffees and fresh pastries and desserts baked by an in-house pastry chef. The restaurant also features the C Bar offering microbrewery beer, an extensive wine list and super premium liquor.

Lisabella’s will have it all and make it quite possible to never leave your perfect beachfront community. But if you don’t have stranger danger, Port Aransas is a mere 3 miles away. Try Coffee Waves Port Aransas, where we grabbed breakfast during our stay. I have to say I was pleasantly surprised by the variety and quality of restaurants both in Port A (as the locals call it) including the Venetian Hot Plate, one of the best Italian meals I recall, fish places and new fusion place closer to Corpus that was owned by a darling young couple with excellent food. We also loved the prices: if you’ve been to Carmel, Calistoga or Hawaii, you will get great meals in this area for what you pay for a California latte. LisaBellas, for example, right on property, offers a boxed lunch including a sandwich, chips, pastry and drink for approximately $8—great for a picnic on the beach or to accompany a game of golf on the neighboring Newport Dunes Links course.

I found a home at Cinnamon Shore that made me consider selling my Dallas home and moving there FULL TIME: 4,000 square ft with five bedrooms, a bunk room, five and a half baths and two master suites — so two couples could share ownership and even be there at the same time. The interiors are spectacular by Mustang Island designer interior  Susan Castor. Oh. My. God. Shiplap siding, tongue and groove all whitewashed or painted white; white oak plank hardwood floors; what they call “morning kitchens” and I call “beverage bars” in both masters — ha maybe that’s a phrase Southern Baptists prefer! There is an elevator and two laundry rooms, and scads of outdoor porches to catch the Gulf sea breeze where folks never shut the windows so they can hear the surf. And hear the surf you will from this property because it overlooks the dunes with a view full of the beach from every single room. Really, $2.2 million for a giant, brand spanking new beachfront house? SOLD!

But here’s what’s so great about Cinnamon Shore: you can also have a great house for $400,000. Pricing is so reasonable, and many homeowners here tell me they not only cover cash flow they actually MAKE money when they put their home in the rental pool. I know it’s a popular spot come spring and summer: we tried getting down there for three or four weekends — Cinnamon Shore was PACKED!

 

For those of us who haunt these four corners almost daily, I am thrilled to learn that Central Market will be filling in the old vacated Borders location on the southeast corner of Preston Royal. Course the commercial real estate world was saying that was going to be Trader Joe’s but honestly, I didn’t believe it. Trader Joe’s belongs up at LBJ and Preston/Forest or over in Lakewood, my humble opinion. Here’s the announcement from Central Market: Plans for Fifth Dallas-Fort Worth Location,” and why the  H-E-B, San Antonio-based conglomerate is  moving into the 30,000-square-foot space (about half of the Lover’s Lane store, which I quite frankly think it too big) with a new concept that this neighborhood is going to lap up — literally:

“Research has shown us, and many of our customers have told us, that while we’re a destination store — people will drive 10, 30, even more than 100 miles to shop with us — they’d like us to be more accessible, closer to home,” says Stephen Butt, Senior Vice President of Central Market H-E-B. “By adding a new, neighborhood-friendly store design to our portfolio, we can start to better respond to our customers’ interests. We believe this is a new way to bring Central Market’s offerings to more customers in the future.”

Butt goes on to explain the company has been looking at real estate around the state, and just wanted to find the perfect location to launch its new store concept. Well, Preston Royal is about as perfect as it can get. I’ve heard the demographics surrounding those four corners actually surpass Highland Park Village, which is about as Gold Coast as you can get. Also, I was at Celebrity the other day, and they told me traffic is way down for them since Borders closed. (They also told me no Trader Joe’s going in.) So having Central Market’s new store could bring in more customers… or competition especially if it offers a cafe, which it will. The new Central Market concept store opens before the holidays — Thanksgiving — yes!

PS: I need to post the Butt family’s second home compound in Port Aransas, coming up!

Update: The Dallas Morning News reports this new Central Market will feature more kosher foods, taking on the expanded Tom Thumb at Preston Forest. Dallas is one of the most competitive grocery markets in the country, and now we know why. BTW, I would rather have seen Trader Joe’s up at Preston Forest than Natural What-Ever It Is. Went in that store once, walked out without having touched my plastic. Anyone else get it?