Hammer time: Crews are soon to begin work at a luxury master-planned development that will include high-end houses and the restoration of the old Stewart Mansion on the island’s West End. Developers Todd and Lori Edwards plan a Wednesday groundbreaking ceremony for Bayside at Waterman’s, which will include public and private improvements on a 21-acre, 162-lot development between the Galveston Country Club and Galveston Island State Park. When development is complete, the property will have taxable value of $160 million, according to estimates. The groundbreaking ceremony will take place in front of the historical Stewart Mansion in the 14000 block of Stewart Road. Restoration of the mansion as a community center is one of the private improvements to soon be underway. Other amenities at the development will include a resort-style pool, lazy river and boardwalk along Lake Como. The public infrastructure is being paid for by a city-authorized Public Improvement District. The district allows the Edwards to use tax-exempt bonds to build more than $7 million in public improvements. The $9 million in privately funded amenities will be built in parallel to the public infrastructure. The development’s first phase, which is almost complete, includes 11 waterfront town houses, of which two are under construction and for sale; a second-level private deck and swimming pool; and 67 covered boat slips. Existing amenities include Waterman’s Restaurant, a marina, elevated viewing decks and a boat launch.
History preserved: Preservationists have applauded the planned renovations of the Stewart Mansion. George Sealy Jr. commissioned the building in 1926, according to the Galveston Historical Foundation. The Sealy family was among the island’s dynastic clans, powerful in business and politics. In 1944, Maco Stewart, founder of what would become Stewart Title Co., acquired the property. Michael Gaertner, the project’s architect, said the building was less a mansion than a camp house the Stewart family used as a West End retreat from city life. The Stewart Mansion had fallen victim to time, elements and vandalism over the years.