Galveston's Pleasure Pier plan unveiled

January 30, 2012 8:20:22 PM PST
It's big news for Galveston and big news for families. On Monday, we learned a lot more about the new Pleasure Pier that's slated to open this May.

It's being built where the Flagship Hotel used to stand, along the Galveston Seawall and 25th Street. Construction is well underway there and developers say they're ready to get this pier up and running just in time for the start of summer.

The $60 million renovation is the brain child of restaurateur Tilman Fertitta, CEO of Landry's.

"It's just gonna be so, so dramatic," said Fertitta. "It's just gonna light up the skyline in Galveston."

From above, you can see the 1,100 foot pier jutting out over the Gulf. Soon, it will be filled with restaurants, shops, games and wild rides. The idea is to jolt tourism on the island.

"Usually people stay about 1.6 days out of the year. We want it to become more of a leisure tourist experience where maybe you'll stay three, four, five days," said Galveston Mayor Joe Jaworski.

The pier was originally built in 1948 as a recreation area for the military. It was turned over to the city after World War II, and you'll recall, it's the spot where the Flagship Hotel opened in 1965. That's when Fertitta was just a young boy.

"I used to work right here at the Flagship. Now, well, I'll still be working there. See? Just still working, all these years later!" Fertitta said.

The renovated pier will not only attract visitors to the island that was crippled by Hurricane Ike in 2008, but it will bring 650 jobs. And that makes the sounds of construction like music to the mayor's ears.

"We're just really excited," said Mayor Jaworski.

We went down to the neighborhood around another major southeast Texas tourist attraction, Space Center Houston, to ask people what they thought about the idea of a brand new amusement park in Galveston.

"I think it's a great tourist attraction to help bring more money down to Galveston. Unfortunately they were devastated by the last hurricane," said supporter Raymond Green. "So anything Tilman can do to bring more money to the city will help out tremendously."

"It will make it a premier tourist destination even more so because it's going to be something that's known country wide," said another fan Eric Smith.

Developers are adding a parking lot across the street with 500 parking spaces. The city is also working on a shuttle system between hotels and motels on the island to the pier.

The goal is to make the pier a destination similar to Chicago's Navy Pier, the Santa Monica Pier and Coney Island's Luna Park. The projected date for its opening is May 2012.

Here are some stats on the history of the old pier.

  • Built in the late 1940s, Galveston's Pleasure Pier was the largest of its kind in the country.
  • For decades, Pleasure Pier operated as a family destination, and contained an amusement park damaged by Carla in 1961.
  • The historic Flagship Hotel was built in 1965, bought by Landry's about 12 years ago; it was decimated by Ike in 2008.

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Pricing

  • Pier Pass: $10 for adults (48" and up) and $8 (48" and under); ride tickets sold separately
  • All Day Ride Pass: $25.99 for adults and $19.99 for children
  • Family Four Pack: $84.99, which include two adult and two children all-day ride passes
  • Individual Ride Tickets: Tickets start at $3.50 per ride


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