Sapphire Bay Land Development, LLC, the development partner chosen by the City of Rowlett City Council, shared its vision yesterday night for a massive surf- and beach-based mixed-use development that will serve as a regional and national destination for local residents, businesses and travelers seeking luxury, adventure and excitement.

On Aug. 1, the city closed the sale of approximately 117 acres of land, including a deep-water marina, just south of I-30 at Dalrock Road to Sapphire Bay Land Development, LLC. President Marc S. English and local real estate developer Kent Donahue bring more than 40 years’ combined development experience to the project.

“We have a collaborative vision and mission statement that aligns in perfect unison with that of the City of Rowlett,” said English. “We share with them an innovative and progressive desire to incorporate a broad mix of multi-use retail, office, medical, unique upscale urban family living, high-end condominiums, luxury townhomes and the latest in dining and entertainment concepts that will generate substantial municipal and state tax revenues in the future for the benefit of all the citizenry of Rowlett, Texas.”

“Our goal, first and foremost, has been to facilitate development of this land in a manner that optimizes its value to the citizens of Rowlett,” said Mayor Tammy Dana-Bashian. “In conjunction with our new development partner, we will be able to hold fast to our commitment to our residents to develop this one-of-a-kind property into the unique destination that Rowlett deserves.”

The $39 million purchase and financing of the project was facilitated by Marc S. English Capital Holdings I, LLC out of Tarrant County, Texas. The existing marina was acquired by a local investment group, Sapphire Bay Marina, LLC, and will be renamed Sapphire Bay Marina.

English will spearhead all contractual negotiations and manage the construction of all public improvement district (PID) amenities, including an approximately 6.5-acre Crystal Lagoons water feature and island show fountain. He will also manage the eventual award of all construction contracts to the best of the many contractors that will competitively bid on this project. 

Donahue will design, oversee and collaborate with many experiential design consultants and architects to envision, facilitate and design the project, anchored by a 500-room resort hotel, spa, conference center, approximately1.4 million square feet of commercial lease space, and a surf and beach club featuring not only the Crystal Lagoons amenity, but also a one-of-a-kind, competition-quality surfing venue.

“We have assembled an incredible team that is ready to deliver everything Rowlett is expecting and more – a unique, experiential, water-themed destination that will be a must-see in North Texas,” said Donahue. “The surf and beach lifestyle is what drives this project, and it will fill the resort hotel, office towers, residential units, shops and restaurants with people who want to experience a tropical beach setting in the heart of North Texas.”

Consulting and management firm VenuBlue, which specializes in innovative beach lifestyle destination attractions, will operate the new development. Donahue said the VenuBlue team, led by John Hughes, has played a key role in helping to develop the vision for the surf and beach club, including the out-of-ocean surf venue that will deliver a world-class, competitive-quality surfing experience to be enjoyed by all ages and skill levels.

“We’re creating a public immersive experience featuring not only surfing, but also kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, waterpark features including a lazy river, and private dining cabanas, anchored by an amazing surf and beach club,” said Hughes. “As the preeminent consulting and management firm for the next generation of beach lifestyle destination venues and attractions, VenuBlue is uniquely positioned to help make Sapphire Bay a monumental success.”

“We are deeply appreciative of the city’s steadfast commitment to this exciting project and the development team’s vision, which will bring a spectacular, paradise-like lagoon to the community,” said Lisa Moore, regional director of Crystal Lagoons. “Sapphire Bay will become our fourth lagoon so far in Texas, providing further validation of our beautiful man-made lagoons’ rapidly growing appeal. Rowlett’s lagoon will be a fantastic centerpiece drawing countless visitors for water sports, entertainment, dining and more.”

The Sapphire Bay executive team has tapped 5G Studio Collaborativeas the lead architect and Brian Bridgewater with Manhard Consultingas the project’s civil engineer. Lifescapes International, designer of many world-famous Las Vegas pools and amenities, will design the landscaping and tropical garden environment. Martin Brinkerhoff and Associates will be responsible for the design and show production for the island entertainment feature.

The development partners anticipate construction of mass grading and site balancing, along with sanitary sewer, water utilities and paving improvements, will begin immediately upon the City of Rowlett issuing all appropriate construction permits.

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