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Construction on 7 Seas Aquarium may not have started, despite curator claims

Temple locals have bought $99 season passes for 7 Seas Aquarium, but after looking at city emails, it's not clear when or if the business will ever open.

TEMPLE, Texas — There was plenty of excitement after 7 Seas Aquarium was announced for the Temple Mall in January. But after 6 News spoke to the City of Temple and requested city emails, it's not clear if construction on the business ever started. It's also not clear if the construction will ever finish. 

7 Seas Aquarium said on Facebook on Feb. 21, "Due to some last-minute, minor adjustments and revisions required by the city's planning department, our opening is temporarily delayed. We do not anticipate this delay taking us beyond the end of the month, however, stay tuned on our website and social media channels for updated information as we have it to share."

 Aquarium curator Fidel M. Junco said on Feb. 24 that he just needed to get the fish into the space before they can open.

According to the City of Temple, the 7 Seas Aquarium hasn't provided construction plans to the city and has not started any construction. This was just three days before the Facebook post said they would open.

"Code inspectors and the fire marshals office went to that location in the mall on Feb.18 and there was nothing in that space at that time," Temple Spokeswoman Laurie Simmons said. 

In one email from the City of Temple, Junco listed "Hammond Aqualife LLC" as his business name for the 7 Seas Aquarium. In a PDF presentation to the city, however, the company title used was "Blue Sea International." 

Temple said they don't know what Junco's business name is for the project because they have still not received any official documents from the company.  

A web search for "Hammond Aqualife LLC" revealed multiple articles about aquarium and waterpark projects that were proposed but not built. 

At the same time, according to the 7 Seas Aquarium Facebook page, multiple people have already bought tickets or passes for the venue. 

6 News tried to speak to Fidel Junco in the Mall Feb. 24, but he was unable to do an interview. Junco did not return any phone calls on Tuesday either, so it is still unknown what would happen to ticket holders if the business did not open. 

Even if Junco was ready to start renovating the area, Simmons said construction shouldn't start until the business has the needed building permits.

"He needs a commercial remodeling building permit with plumbing and electrical. If there is any work that is done to that facility or if it opens without the building permit being officially issued, we would issue a stop-work order immediately," Simmons said. 

6 News also reached out to the Temple Mall but General Manager Patrice Moody said she was unable to comment on the situation due to a non-disclosure agreement. 

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