SOLD! City sells Yacht Club to local family

Port Isabel-South Padre Press

The historic Port Isabel Yacht Club has a new owner — a new family of owners — after the Port Isabel City Commission unanimously approved its sale for $430,000 in a special meeting Monday.

As first reported in the PRESS on Feb. 1, a local family made a bid on the beloved structure during a meeting last month. The patriarch of that family, Ernesto Martinez, offered an impassioned plea as to why the City should consider the sale.

The City heard his plea.

In a series of special meetings last week and this week, City officials met with Martinez and one of his sons, Armando, to discuss the particulars of the purchase, the potential for tax abatements, and the future of the building — which predates the City’s own incorporation by two years.

“The Yacht Club had a footprint here before the incorporation of the town,” the elder Martinez said, speaking of how Port Isabel grew up around the 1.5 acre property. “It’s really the highlight, I think, of the whole community,” he said.

Martinez could barely contain his excitement over the prospect of purchasing the Yacht Club as the City Commission met behind closed doors last Tuesday. But, after a protracted discussion which involved the Commission calling Martinez and his son into the closed discussion, the Commissioners emerged without taking any action on the potential sale. A few more details still needed working out, they said.

On Monday, the Martinez family gathered at City Hall again. This time, the pair were joined by Ernesto’s wife, Irma, and daughter, Laura. Ernesto’s eldest son, Ernie —who lives in Dallas — is also involved in the purchase, the elder Martinez said.

Without any fanfare, the Mayor Pro-tem Jeffery Martinez read the agenda item regarding the sale and called for a motion. Unanimously, the Commission approved the sale. Mayor Juan Jose “J.J.” Martinez was not present at the meeting.

“I think it was a good offer, based on the condition that the Yacht Club is in now,” Commissioner Martin C. Cantu said. “It needs drastic repairs on the roofing. So, based on that and their intentions to renew it, that was a big factor in our decision,” he said.

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