Landry's Plans a New Galveston Island Historic Pleasure Pier

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Pleasure Pier Rendering small.jpg
Photo courtesy of Landry's
Click here to see a high-res version of the proposed plans for the new Galveston Island Historic Pleasure Pier.
Longtime residents of the Houston metro area will no doubt remember the Flagship Hotel. Jutting out on a pier from Galveston Island's seawall, it was the only hotel in North America situated entirely over a body of water. Hurricane Ike all but destroyed the hotel in 2008, and it was completely torn down two years later at the same time as Landry's announced plans to build an amusement park on the razed site.

The news may have annoyed many a Houstonian, who surely had visions of the pillaged and tourist-plagued Kemah Boardwalk in their minds (another Landry's waterfront project). But the amusement park that Tilman Fertitta's empire has in mind for the pier actually has its roots deep in Galveston's own history.

The original Galveston Pleasure Pier was the largest of its kind in the country, where national acts played nightly in the Marine ballroom and guests enjoyed a variety of midway games, rides and other attractions. Built in 1943, the amusement park itself was destroyed by another fierce storm -- Hurricane Carla -- and then razed to build the Flagship Hotel in the 1960s. In this ironic twist, the new Galveston Island Historic Pleasure Pier is a return to the site's roots as a popular tourist attraction.

Past rendition.jpg
Courtesy of the Rosenberg Library Galveston
A postcard showing Galveston's original Pleasure Pier in the 1940s, which cost $1.5 million to build at the time.
In keeping with the original Pleasure Pier's main attractions, the revamped Landry's version will feature plenty of rides, midway games and even a Ferris wheel at the very end of the 1,130-foot pier at 25th and Seawall. It's no Navy Pier, but Galveston is no Chicago. And that's all right with Mayor Joe Jaworski, who hopes the amusement park will enhance Galveston's unique and historic identity along the Gulf of Mexico.

"The City of Galveston's commitment to enhancing our Seawall experience has now been improved upon by one of Galveston's own," stated Jaworski in a press release, referring to the fact that Landry's CEO Fertitta was island-born and -bred. "Galveston is back and better than ever, and the Seawall is leading the way," Jaworski continued.

In addition to rides, games and other attractions, the Pleasure Pier will also feature a variety of restaurants -- just like the Kemah Boardwalk (so expect them to be Landry's-owned, as well). Next to the parking lot and main entrance, Fish Tales -- which is already open -- will serve Gulf seafood, steaks and pastas. And an enormous Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. will open in May, with room for 350 guests inside or out.

Another tired Bubba Gump Shrimp Co.? Maybe the new Pleasure Pier isn't so different from Navy Pier after all. Either way, you'll have to wait until May to find out, when the Galveston Island Historic Pleasure Pier opens this summer.



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14 comments
expert
expert

a lot of jobs? I'm guessing not too many unfortunately and all at minimum wage I'm sure...I went and its all just kids working there.

expert
expert

the walk-on admission will keep -MOST- of the scumbags out!!!!

Nickmandagelo
Nickmandagelo

They should sell the name of the pier to the highest bidder like they do at stadiums. One day it will be "Chase Bank" pier and when they get outbid after their contract it could be "Guitar Center" pier and so on.....NOT!!!

chelle
chelle

I'm not a Landry's fan, but this will provide a lot of jobs to the people of Galveston.

Wychelinda
Wychelinda

For sure there it will be tacky, overpriced with lousy food. That's what Fertitta does.

Corey
Corey

Couldn't agree more, everything he touches comes with a mild hint of ghetto.

Diane
Diane

I think it is a great idea to keep a small fee to get inside.  I definitely would not want anyone to just be hanging out everywhere.  Bums, drinkers, at all times.  There has to be a cover charge.Also, what a great boost for Galveston tourism.

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Terry Alexander
Terry Alexander

I am certainly no one to give Fertitta business advice but it looks like this will be a pay to enter pier. Fail!

One of my favorite parts of the Santa Monica Pier was the fact that the pier was free. You paid only to eat drink or ride the amusements. This allowed large families to go and still pay for little junior to ride while Mom and Dad just enjoyed the sun and watched eating nachos and drinking beer.

I see his possible reasoning - keep the undesirables out. But that added to the pleasure of SMP. The gumbo of all walks of life interacting with each other.TA

Ming
Ming

Pleasure Pier? Seriously? Sounds like a cheap strip club. C'mon, put some damn thought into these things. 

Gigi
Gigi

That is the original name.

Katharine Shilcutt
Katharine Shilcutt

I thought it was kind of cool that Landry's kept the original name of the pier/amusement park from the 1940s intact...

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