Residents of Lago Mar, a master-planned community in Texas City, can spend their days by Crystal Lagoon this summer, with public access as early as 2021.

The resident-designated beach and amenities, which opened for use in early June, take up about 35% of the lagoon’s perimeter, said Uri Man, the executive vice president of Lago Mar’s developer Land Tejas. A 12,000-square-foot public access section, including a residential beach clubhouse and two different beaches, is expected to open in 2021 on the lagoon’s west side.

Crystal Lagoon offers more than a mile of shoreline and stretches more than a quarter mile end to end. The lagoon’s east side will eventually be home to a mixed-use entertainment district, allowing guests to experience sunset views as they shop and dine, Man said.

“It’s really something that’s fantastic to see,” he said.

Lago Mar officials are ready to begin conversations with hotel, restaurant and retail developers about waterfront development, Man said. The entertainment district will look like a “more beautiful” version of the Kemah Boardwalk when completed, he said.

Crystal Lagoon is the largest of any such amenity in the country by length and perimeter, Man said, but its eco-friendly technology ensures only a fraction of the chemicals and energy used to operate a typical swimming pool are necessary. The lagoon is about six times larger than Land Tejas’ first Crystal Lagoons amenity, which opened in 2018 in the master-planned community of Balmoral in Humble.

Lago Mar will consist of 4,500 homes once built out, plus townhomes and condominiums, Man said. Texas City was chosen for the lagoon based on its location along I-45; residents and families are frequently driving south en route to Galveston, and the lagoon will be easier to access than the Galveston seawall, Man said.

“We looked for an amenity that would really differentiate this community from any other,” Man said, adding that a gathering space like Crystal Lagoon helps bring families and communities together. “It’s really a unique amenity that improves the quality of life for those that have access to it.”

The coronavirus pandemic did not delay the opening of the lagoon, nor will it have a major effect on operations this summer due to the lagoon’s size, Man said. State guidelines are being followed, and residents are being encouraged to make a check-in appointment to avoid large groups of people entering at once. Overall, the lagoon will follow regulations similar to those at water parks across the state, he said.

Guests will have plenty of space to practice social distancing across the 100 acres of land around the lagoon, making a day at the lagoon just as feasible as a trip to Galveson for Lago Mar residents, Man said.

“There’s just no other community that can match this,” he said. “It’s really paradise.”