Pasadena Still Waiting for Its Ships To Come In

PASADENA STILL WAITING FOR ITS SHIPS TO COME IN The 96,000-sq.-ft. Bayport Cruise Terminal is sitting empty, reporter Jenalia Moreno notices. Still, Port of Houston chairman James Edmonds is optimistic about the future of the 140-acre $81 million facility, which was completed in 2008: “The port is offering to work with cruise lines to develop 40 acres of land near the terminal, hoping that will encourage one to base a ship at the Pasadena property. Restaurants, hotels and other attractions could be built on the land and turn the spot into a destination point, Edmonds said . . . The Bayport cruise terminal was part of a $387 million bond proposal Harris County voters approved in 1999. Cruise ships were calling at the port when voters approved the bonds and when construction began on the new terminal. They were gone by the time the terminal was complete, however, mostly because of financial problems at both cruise lines.” [Houston Chronicle] Photo: Silent Z

7 Comment

  • While the idea was great in concept, ultimately it doesn’t work. Galveston just makes more sense as a place to dock a cruise ship and they can handle the current load quite well.

  • It sure is a shame. The building is beautiful, great location, easy to get to… but nothing around it except chemical plants at BayPort…
    Share our money has gone to waste… at least for the time being.

  • The thing about this location, the Port of Houston never expected to get a cruise ship here, they don’t really care about that. The reason they have this is because only by selling the voters on the “need” for a cruise terminal were they able to have this location as the only possible spot for the container terminal. There were other locations much better suited to the container terminal (locations that wouldn’t be on top of sleepy little communities like Shoreacres, Tx), but the Port argued that none of the other locations met the space requirements as they just had to have the container terminal. The Port doesn’t give a hoot about getting a cruise line in here; they just wanted the container terminal at this utterly inappropriate location.

    The Port of Houston: using your taxpayer money to advertise to you to pass a bond for something you don’t need. No oversight and exempt from audits!

  • How is this location inappropriate?

    Is just just because it’s by a small town? If that’s the reason, then it doesn’t fly. The location provided easy access to the rail lines just like the Barbour’s Cut terminal. The new location is easier for larger ships (especially when Post-Panamax ships become the norm). Few container ports can easily handle these newer ships. Port of Houston can now do this.

    The site also was pretty much empty. It’s not like they used condemnation or eminent domain to throw a bunch of homeowners and businesses out to get this place built. It’s also adjacent to a large chemical facility. My guess is the port is less of a hassle for the town than this existing facility. The port also has dedicated access to SH 146. Long term plans for SH 146 will ensure port traffic stays of town streets.

    In the end, the cruise terminal is a bust. The port is a success and was much needed.

  • Sleepy little town? Now that is funny, you should really get out more. Shoreacres has been surrounded by a port and chemical manufacturing for longer than I have been alive, not only that but the place was overdeveloped given its long history of flooding. The City of LaPorte can continue to develop for tourism but just like the cruise terminal, you can build it but they still won’t come.

  • Studies have shown that Barbour’s Cut resulted in secondary employment gains within La Porte, which fed back to gains in property values. Adjusted for storms, elevation, and their zoning and building codes…Shoreacres will no doubt experience the same positive effects.

  • The truth is that the Port did obtain the land through eminent domain, or the threat thereof, but approximately 40 years ago. The Bayport channel was dug into land dividing the Galveston Bay shoreline between Seabrook & La Porte, which had already been developed for decades. The industry in the area sprung up mostly after the channel was cut. When looking for a site for a container port, the Port obviously wanted to make sure they could use the land they already owned and did what they could to justify this as the only feasible site.
    Yes, the Houston area needs its Port and it has been vital to our economy. However, currently the container traffic is faltering. Also, there are few if any containers going out by rail from Barbours Cut and probably won’t be any rail need at Bayport for the forseeable future. (All those containers you see on trains are moving from Los Angeles, not the Port of Houston.) The Port of Houston still cannot handle the newer container ships as the channel is not deep enough, and that’s a battle they haven’t started to fight yet.
    The bottom line is that the Cruise terminal was a “build it and they will come” folly. The container terminal is needed, but the chosen site is very disruptive to the adjacent communities. But little of this ever comes to light as the Port has a very healthy advertising budget that few media outlets want to risk losing. Why a public, taxing entity can use our tax dollars to advertise to us for more money for bonds is beyond me.