In the 1970's Pier 19 was listed in the National Register of Historic Places and protected by the Galveston City Charter. In later years, Pier 19/20 continued to be a waterfront attraction drawing consumers, commercial fisherman, charter fishing boats, fish houses, a restaurant and the Ocean Star Offshore Drilling Rig & Museum.
In the early 1980's, the waterfront from Pier 19 to Pier 25 was designated by the Port of Galveston as an area to promote tourist development. The Pier 21 area was made available for lease and two major tenants leased portions of the port property. The Texas Seaport Museum and a berth for the Elissa were leased by the Galveston Historical Foundation. The Woodlands Corporation, also a Mitchell company, was selected to develop Pier 21. Pier 21 was developed to include a small boat marina, theater, shops, restaurants, and a boutique hotel – Harbor House.
Phase One of the Pier 21 project was completed in 1994 at a cost of $8.75 million.
The Mitchells are committed to the development of the waterfront for a variety of uses including cruise, shipping and tourist activities. After years of effort by the Port of Galveston and others to attract cruise business to the Island, GPM, Inc., under the direction of Senior Vice President Bill Ross, spearheaded a drive to find local sources of funding to develop a state-of-the art terminal at Pier 25 to encourage consideration by Royal Caribbean and Carnival Cruise Lines of Galveston Island as a home port. George Mitchell stepped forward with the first major donation and local government entities matched his effort. . Today the cruise ship industry plays a major role in the economy of the Island. and Galveston Island is recognized as one of the leading ports in the nation for cruise travel.