Raw: Construction under way on Pleasure Pier in Galveston

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by khou.com staff

khou.com

Posted on January 30, 2012 at 3:31 PM

Updated Monday, Jan 30 at 6:43 PM

GALVESTON, Texas— A $60 million tourist attraction is expected to draw more visitors to Galveston's Seawall when it opens.

Landry’s Inc. owner Tilman Fertitta gave a sneak peak Monday of the latest drawings for the new Pleasure Pier planned for Galveston.

For weeks, crews have been working on the project that Fertitta hopes will rival Chicago’s Navy Pier, Coney Island’s Luna Park and Santa Monica Pier. He says construction on the 1,200-foot pier at 25th and Seawall should be complete by Memorial Day, which is May 28.

“It will be the typical Tilman Fertitta, Landry’s project that’s first class,” Fertitta told the Galveston County Daily News on Friday. “It will be a place where families will go to have fun and feel safe and really enjoy themselves.”

The pier will feature a number of traditional rides, including a 36-foot double-decker carousel and a 100-foot tall Ferris Wheel. For the more adventurous, visitors will be able to ride a 200-foot tall swing, considered the highest ride in Texas.

There will also be a retail center called Shops at Pleasure Pier on the north side of Seawall Boulevard, Fertitta said Monday at the company’s Houston headquarters. And a Bubba Gump Shrimp restaurant will be built to go along with the rides and games.

The original Pleasure Pier opened in the late 1940s and was once the place for entertainment and fun before Hurricane Carla destroyed the property in 1961.

In 1965, the Flagship Hotel opened on the site, but was damaged by Hurricane Ike in 2008 and later torn down.

To the west of the Landry’s owned Fish Tales restaurant will be a pay parking lot to accommodate crowds, along with a bus and shuttle drop off and pick up point.

Mark Kane, who’s overseeing the operation of the Pleasure Pier, said that like the Kemah Boardwalk, the pier plans to be open 270 days a year.

Officials said there will be an admission charge to enter the pier, but the amount has not been disclosed.

“It will be a place where families will go to have fun and feel safe and really enjoy themselves,” Fertitta said.

Kane said the company expects about 3 million visitors a year to the pleasure pier, similar to what the Boardwalk draws, according to the company.

Galveston Mayor Joe Jaworski said the project is great for the city.

“The city of Galveston’s commitment to enhancing our Seawall experience has now been improved upon by one of Galveston’s own,” said Jaworski.

Fertitta said while the pier will feature modern rides and amenities, it’s designed to give visitors the feel of an earlier era in Galveston. He is confident the new and improved Galveston Historic Pleasure Pier will become a major tourist draw.

“I’m most excited what it will do for tourism in Galveston,” Fertitta told the Galveston County Daily News.

Information from the Galveston County Daily News was used in this report.

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