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Angela Edwards knows beaches. Edwards, an attorney, and her husband, Rick (a former surfer who hails from Manhattan Beach, Calif.), have lived on Connecticut’s Gold Coast and owned property in Palm Beach, Fla. A few years ago, the beach lovers grew interested in finding and developing the next hot beachfront area. When they hit South Padre Island, way down at Texas’ southern tip, they knew they’d found the spot.
“We went down there and absolutely fell in love with the island,” Edwards says. “We couldn’t believe it wasn’t further developed.” The couple decided to immerse themselves in the island, so they started buying up property — first a small condo complex, then other rental properties. Then they got interested in the island’s undeveloped northern end. “We saw an incredible opportunity to make something happen there,” she explains.
But they weren’t able to make it happen alone. The area had no sewer and water utilities, no electricity — nothing. “There were a lot of government regulatory agencies involved,” Edwards says. “It was not an easy process.” Her company, Edwards Coastal Land Development, forged alliances with local business and political leaders; the Laguna Madre Water District arranged to annex the area; and Edwards, along with some other landowners, covered the $3.5 million cost of installing the water and sewer lines.
This past March, Edwards broke ground on her new Cibola subdivision. The large lots were priced at $495,000 for single-family residences, but Edwards says she’s had nibbles from larger developers who may want to build high-rise condos on the spot. She foresees plenty more growth for the northern end over the next few years, spurred by a planned second causeway that will connect the island to the mainland.