In response to the story (“Park board: cruise plan won’t bring money to island,” The Daily News, April 2): The concern of the Park Board of Trustees in regards to the Royal Caribbean Cruise ship terminal is relevant, but short-sighted. The terminal will bring millions of visitors to the city.

By doing a major real estate development in conjunction with this terminal, linked to the other terminals — retail, hotels, restaurants, entertainment — the port can extend the visits of cruise ship passengers and attract others.

In 2018, Polybus Inc. a real estate broker, retained Design Workshop, an internationally known design firm that has done several projects for the city — to do a schematic rendering to show how the east end of the Port might be developed.

This schematic rendering is their work product, and I shared it with the Port.

It shows a reinvigorated area of hotels, factory outlets, luxury retail, parks and a new cruise ship terminal.

The plan is intended to show what is possible and reflects Design Workshop’s broad experience, but a final plan will require market and feasibility studies such as will likely be produced by the port’s impending master plan.

As long as the port uses below market rent to subsidize businesses that otherwise would not make it, it will create neither prosperity nor lasting jobs. If it focuses on making the highest profit, it will create jobs and prosperity. The city deserves for the port to do better than break even.

The city deserves that the port offer it a market return on the value of its investment.

This is the port’s last chance to get it right. If it uses the Royal Caribbean terminal as a catalyst to develop an integrated retail/hotel/entertainment destination that will pull and hold tourists, it will transform the city.

If instead, the port focuses on parking revenue, it will have squandered the best opportunity of its last 100 years.

This is an unparalleled opportunity and the port needs to partner with a major real estate developer, or, better, it could work with a consortium of the four cruise ship companies who dock here; they would benefit substantially from such a development and they have the money and the expertise.

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(1) comment

Wendy Maceo-Melton

Mr. Shelton's comments are the most reasonable I've heard from anyone in Galveston since the 70's! Galveston, lets not waste this opportunity as well. We've continued to see businesses leave the island, restaurants and businesses close. That's got to be turned around. We have to bring business here, we have to have viable options for tourists to entice them to stay. Right now, tourists come, take a boat ride and leave. That's got to change.

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