The Marble Falls Economic Development Corp. will work with Stantec, an engineering services company, in developing the next steps of Lakeside Park Phase 1B improvements. The EDC approved entering a $553,095 professional services agreement with the company during its Monday, Sept. 27, meeting.

Stantec will spend the next eight months working on design development and construction drawings for the improvements, which include to the old powerhouse structure on Lake Marble Falls, a connecting boardwalk, and a walking trail extension. Once those steps are complete, the EDC will bring in a contractor to oversee and finish construction, which is expected to take about a year.

“We are trying to keep the timeline for this project as consistent as possible with the (Marble Falls hotel and conference center) project so that we can open everything at roughly the same time,” EDC Executive Director Christian Fletcher said in a statement.

One of Stantec’s goals throughout the design and engineering process will be to keep construction costs down while also maintaining the integrity of the project, Fletcher said.

Portions of the project will be paid for through $8 million of sales-tax revenue bonds discussed during an Aug. 4 meeting.

The Marble Falls Economic Development Corp. entered land purchase, management, and lease agreements with Marble Falls Hotel Group LLC during the EDC’s Sept. 27 meeting. The actions allow for the construction of a planned hotel and conference center. Illustration courtesy of Marble Falls EDC

Legal documents to bring the Marble Falls Hotel and Conference Center closer to reality were signed during a special meeting of the Marble Falls Economic Development Corp. on Sept. 27. Details were discussed during an executive session before EDC directors voted.

The hotel and conference center will next go before the Marble Falls City Council, which will consider granting the project a 25-year hotel tax abatement of $300,000 during its Oct. 19 meeting. Burnet County commissioners will also consider a 10-year ad valorem tax abatement of 75 percent at an upcoming meeting.

The hotel and conference center is expected to have an economic impact of over $250 million within its first 20 years of operation.

At the Sept. 27 special meeting, EDC directors approved a land purchase agreement, a performance agreement, and a nonexclusive lease and management agreement with Marble Falls Hotel Group LLC following an executive session to discuss legal details.

The project includes a 116-room Tapestry by Hilton hotel and a fully operational conference center to be built on  roughly 3 acres of land along Yett Street and the Marble Falls lakefront. EDC and city officials have been discussing the project for years, with progress being made since 2019.

Construction is expected to begin during the first quarter of 2022. The hotel and conference center should open for operation in mid-2023.

The project will be funded, owned, and operated by Marble Falls Hotel Group LLC, which consists of the Phoenix Hospitality Group, a hotel management and development group, and Hawkins Family Partners LP.

Total project development is expected to cost upwards of $35 million and will be funded through a 50 percent loan and cash equity provided by the hotel group.

The EDC finalized the sale of project site land to the hotel group for $2 million. Directors also approved entering into a 25-year nonexclusive lease and management agreement with the hotel group for use of conference center facilities. The EDC will pay $525,000 for the first three years and $225,000 for the remainder of the agreement. The lease agreement allows the EDC to use conference center facilities throughout its duration.

“The EDC’s financial commitment to the project is tied directly to the conference center in the agreements that were approved yesterday, but the broader rationale for our incentives include a commitment to the public spaces around the property, the boutique nature and service level of the hotel, and overcoming some challenging site characteristics,” said EDC Executive Director Christian Fletcher in a statement.

The EDC is also contributing $6.8 million to the project, which will almost completely cover design and construction costs associated with the conference center portion. Contribution funds come from 2016 bonds proceeds dedicated to the project.

Can it be? The dog days of summer 2021 are upon us at last. And while plenty has changed over previous years, one thing remains constant: an overwhelming desire among many Americans to head to the water—and, just maybe, consider what it would take to own a house there.

But in today’s overheated housing market, is the concept of owning your own waterfront home a punishing fantasy or an achievable reality? Well, it all depends on where you look.

Reality check: Most of us are no more likely find ourselves in ostentatious ocean estates in Malibu, the Hamptons, or Bal Harbour than we are to enjoy an eight-minute joyride to the edge of space. But that doesn’t mean the rest of the 99% can’t get in on the waterfront action. For many, lakeside living is the answer.

That’s where the data team at® comes in. We set out on our annual hot-season quest to find the best affordable lake towns in the United States—places with lots of well-priced homes, lovely and fun water scenes, and no shortage of things to do on dry land. Some offer Zen-inducing tranquility, some pulse-pounding action, and others the kind of family-friendly tourist vibe that can optimize rental opportunities.

And all of them are great for those seeking escape in the spring and fall as well—no small consideration these days.

“Lake homes have always been a popular, aspirational home. The events of the past year drove additional interest,” says Glenn S. Phillips, CEO of Lake Homes Realty. His company sells lake homes in 33 states. “If you have to socially distance or can work from home, just move to the lake full time.”

His brokerage has seen sales in lake towns surge by 50% this year compared to last year, as people flock to the water. And last year was already nuts!

To find out where house hunters can actually buy a lake home without taking an extra job—or three— looked at the median list prices of more than 2,000 towns located on America’s watering holes from May 2020 through June 2021. Each place had to have at least 50 listings each month to make the cut.

Then we ensured these were the kind of places buyers want to be, by searching for the towns with the most water-based businesses, like marinas, restaurants, and activities, using U.S. Census Bureau data. To keep the list geographically diverse, we limited the list to one lake town per state.

See you on the dock!

1. Sandusky, OH

Sandusky, OH, was ranked the most affordable lake town in 2021 by


Median list price: $177,750*

Sandusky has been getting a lot of press over the past few years. Two years ago, USA Today named it the best coastal town in America. Set on the banks of Lake Erie, the popular vacation destination offers a revitalized downtown with good shopping and dining. Families love heading to the rides and entertainment at Cedar Point Amusement Park—the self-proclaimed “roller coaster capital of the world.”

“We have a lot of second-home buyers that come here for their getaway homes,” says real estate agent Jenny Craig of Russell Realty Company. “Homes can vary widely in price: A single-family fixer-upper on the water can go for around $250,000 or into the millions.”

Buyers want to be as close to the water as possible, whether in a condo near the lake—like this one-bedroom asking $160,500—or in a single-family house. This four-bedroom with views of Sandusky Bay is listed at $355,000.

2. Wisconsin Dells, WI

Median list price: $199,950

Anglers from all over the Midwest flock to this rural destination for the awesome catch on manmade Lake Delton, two local rivers, and other, smaller bodies of water that are surrounded with lovely and affordable homes all along their shorelines.

But family members who aren’t into waiting hours (or what can feel like hours) for fish to bite have plenty of other entertainment options throughout the year as well, from wakeboarding and tubing on the water to minigolf and go-karts off it.

“We are right between Minneapolis and Chicago, and it’s a relatively quick trip on the interstate for people from those regions to come and vacation,” says one real estate agent, Kirkland Kettleson of Century 21 Affiliated.

Minneapolis is just over three hours northwest, and Chicago more than three hours northeast.

“We’ve become a year-round vacation destination now because of the resorts, indoor water parks, and other amenities in the area,” he adds.

Those four-season attractions have made the area’s lake homes a hot commodity among second homeowners. Condos on Lake Delton start in the low $100,000s, like this sweet two-bedroom asking $154,900. And while it is possible to find a single-family home on the water that needs a bit of love for under $200,000, the pickings at that price point are slim.

3. Chelan, WA

Lake Chelan National Recreation Area in Washington state

(Getty Images)

Median list price: $284,050

There’s a reason Chelan is the go-to second-home destination for Seattlites seeking a more affordable—and infinitely sunnier—summer escape. Just a three-hour drive, the idyllic glacial valley, located across the Cascade Range in the high desert, centers on the crystal-clear waters of Lake Chelan.

The 55-mile-long body of water is ideal for sailing or paddling past historic cabins and sprawling vineyards. And those who get seasick can avoid the water altogether with local wine tastings. Little wonder Lake Chelan is such a popular vacation destination for 12 to 14 weeks per year.

A majority of buyers use their homes here partly as vacation rentals,  says Justin Skaar, owner of Coldwell Banker Lake Chelan. That makes it appealing for investors as well as folks who stay there part of the time and rent out for the rest, to help pay off their mortgages.

“It’s a way to feel secure about making payment, so they can float it if the world turns upside down,” he says.

Chelan offers housing options at a wide range of price points. Waterfront condos start in the mid $300,000s, like this one-bedroom listed at $349,000. But those who want access to the water from their backdoors need IPO-level cash; they should expect to fork over six figures for places like this brand-new three-bedroom listed at $1.25 million. (Sorry.)

4. Branson, MO

Branson, MO, is always one of’s top affordable lake towns.


Median list price: $319,050

One perennial rule of summer: Branson, MO, is always one of the highest-ranking lake towns in the nation—even if it did move down a couple of spots, from No. 2 last year.

While the area boasts multiple lakes, the family-friendly destination offers plenty to do when you need a break from the sun and heat. If Queen Dolly Parton’s Stampede and live country music shows aren’t your thing, check out the Titanic Museum, with 400 pre-Discovery artifacts spread across 20 galleries—which can be enjoyed in the blissful A/C.

House hunters who want easy access to entertainment after paddleboarding, kayaking, or boating across 43,000 acres of water will appreciate one of the many waterfront homes on Table Rock Lake.

Buyers can find lakeview condos starting in the $200,000 range, such as this three-bedroom listed at $298,000 a bit farther from town. Closer to town, those similar units near the large body of water go for at least an extra $100,000—if not more—such as this three-bedroom asking $539,000.

5. Ely, MN

Buyers can find cute cottages in Ely, MN.


Median list price: $237,050

Right near the Canadian border, way up north in Minnesota, secluded Ely offers acres upon acres of pristine lakes and unspoiled forests set on a stunning, glacier-carved landscape. It’s basically the complete opposite of Branson—aside from, you know, the lakes. There are no theme parks or big music shows. And if Dolly has ever spent time here, she didn’t leave much of a trace.

The International Wolf Center and North American Bear Center are probably the most happening spots in town. That makes Ely paradise for lake lovers who really do want to escape from the crowds and aren’t afraid to keep socially distant.

From this $400,000 one-bedroom cabin on a wooded, waterfront acre right near the Trezona Trail to this $599,000 one-bedroom cabin on a 1.25-acre island in Shagawa Lake, Ely is the ideal lake town for folks who want to get away from it all..

6. Lake Placid, NY

Lake Placid, NY, is a popular lake town in upstate New York.

(Getty Images)

Median list price: $179,500

The town of Lake Placid, set on the banks of, you guessed it, Lake Placid, is probably best known as the home of the 1980 (and 1932!) Winter Olympics. The informative museum on the Games and international ski jump, bobsled, and luge training facilities still gets tons of visitors who want to learn more or watch world-class athletes train.

While the area boasts hundreds of hiking trails for all levels of ability, it also offers motorboating, fishing, and, for those seeking some summer adrenaline, whitewater rafting. However, the Adirondack region is also a destination for folks who just want to sunbathe and roast marshmallows over a fire pit.

Although Lake Placid boasts some impressive multimillion-dollar homes on the water, like this $11 million seven-bedroom estate, folks without trust funds can get into the housing market, too. This three-bedroom, single-family house asking $205,000 offers down payment assistance for buyers who earn under a certain income. There’s also this quirky three-bedroom within walking distance to Main Street for $350,000.

7. Effingham, IL

Buyers enjoy being near Lake Sara in this town.


Median list price: $375,050

Lake Sara has a bit of everything. It’s quiet and peaceful early in the morning, and bustling with waterskiers and boaters in the afternoon. The 800-acre recreational lake is surrounded by a wooded shoreline, winding road and grassy picnic spots that come right up to the edge of the water. This makes it and the nearby town of Effingham a beloved getaway for families from nearby St. Louis, a drive of about an hour-and-a-half away.

For a home right on the lake, buyers can find nice single-family homes starting in the $200,000-range, such as this waterfront three-bedroom asking $259,000.

But there are also plenty of folks who’d prefer to be right in town, within walking distance to dozens of restaurants, the performance center, and the nearly 30 sculptures spread throughout downtown. It’s possible to get a house in this area for just over $100,000, such as this cute three-bedroom asking $115,000.

8. Eureka Springs, AR

Eureka Springs, AR, is a popular vacation destination in the Ozarks.

(Getty Images)

Median list price: $371,900

Set in the Ozark Mountains of Northwestern Arkansas, Eureka Springs gets a ton of visitors who want to admire the beautifully preserved architecture of its Historic District. Sights include the Palace Hotel and Bath House, listed on the National Historic Register, as well as the Basin Park Hotel and the supposedly haunted Crescent Hotel. They were all built around the city’s natural springs—hence the name.

The area also has lots to do, from shopping and dining to mountain biking, hiking, fishing, and canoeing on its rivers and lakes. It is also renowned as the most hippie town in the state, offering drum circles, natural food options, and plenty of community art scattered across town.

Buyers who want to get in on the monthly drum circles in Basin Springs Park can find great deals on homes close to downtown, such as this renovated three-bedroom asking $279,000.

9. Guntersville, AL

There are roughly 69,000 miles of shoreline in Guntersville, AL.


Median list price: $459,050

Just an hour-and-a-half by car from Birmingham, Guntersville boasts nearly 1,000 miles of shoreline on more than 69,000 acres of water. That’s a whole lot of space for you to lie out, water-ski, fish, kayak, or do whatever other water-based activity you care to dream up.

But it’s not just the water that makes the area so special and desirable. Known as Alabama’s Lake City, it’s surrounded by older trees, rugged mountains, and has cultural amenities like a regional theater company.

Starting at under $200,000, buyers can find comfortable homes right near the shore, such as this four-bedroom ranch just around the corner from the boat ramp, asking $184,900. But of course, those who want to go all out on their lake home can find secluded properties that cost much more, like this two-bedroom cottage on 180 feet of deep-water shoreline, for $699,500.

10. Marble Falls, TX

Buyers can find good deals in Marble Falls, TX.

(Getty Images)

Median list price: $559,550

Marble Falls in the Highland Lakes Region is becoming one of the best-known tourist destinations in the central part of the state. Located just an hour from Austin, the town and its surrounding lakes—which are actually dams in the Colorado River—have become an increasingly popular second-home destination. They can play on the lake, ride horses, or follow off-road Jeep trails without losing access to high-speed internet and other city amenities.

“People are realizing they don’t have to be in the city and suburbs, so they can be out there,” says Stephen Bednarski, a real estate agent with Mark Martin and Company. “You get larger lots for the same amount of money, but you still have access to everything you need.”

Buyers can find single-family homes just blocks from the water starting in the $400,000s, like this $419,000, three-bedroom house just outside town.

Original Article Seen here

The Marble Falls Economic Development Corp. checked out possible concept renderings for Phase 1B of the parks improvements plan during its Wednesday, Jan. 6, meeting.

Over the last several months, I’ve been reluctant to share my normal updates on economic indicators for Marble Falls. The context for these updates has been turned on its head, and it seems that every statement made by every public official these days is derided by exactly 50% of the population for either politicizing the pandemic or ignoring science, even if it’s not really related to COVID. It’s exhausting and annoying.

Why Downtown?” was a question I was often asked when the EDC started working on the creation of a tax increment reinvestment zone (TIRZ) back in 2012. I think that people underestimated Downtown’s value and wondered why we weren’t focusing our efforts elsewhere. Today, I think people have begun to recognize Downtown’s value—or, if not, at least its potential—but the questions remain about prioritization of projects. To begin my response, I will share the same quotation here that I included in a blog on the TIRZ in 2013:

Last week, I received an email from a friend asking how increases in sales tax are being used and how they can’t be used.  It was a great question that deserved a proper response, and I thought I would include it here for others to see as well.

Regarding the facts and figures I post, what I try to convey is the general health of the community’s economy—which doesn’t necessarily translate into additional funds for the City or EDC.  The gross sales post you mentioned (Q1 18 gross sales info is now available for Marble Falls: overall, we saw an 8.09% increase over Q1 17 sales, with the strongest growth coming from wholesale trade (+36%), manufacturing (+41%), and construction (+111%)–that’s not a typo!) actually has no bearing whatsoever on either our budget or the City’s budget, since our budgets come from sales tax and not gross sales.  In fact, the City has to project about 4.0 – 4.5% annual sales tax growth in order to balance their budget, and they’re about $85,000 short (1.4%) of that mark this year (FY 17-18).  The EDC can be more conservative, so we don’t budget any growth—and we’re about 2.09% ahead of schedule for the year.  This amounts to a little over $44,000 in new sales tax revenue, which just gets absorbed into our fund balance and helps lessen the shortfall we’ll see over the next couple of years.  (By the way, the shortfall is due in large part to the receipt of bond funds in one year and then spending those funds in subsequent years.)  So, long story short, what might look like big gains in sales tax doesn’t really translate that way.  Big gains in property tax, on the other hand, are what enable the City to increase the street maintenance budget, add emergency personnel, buy fire trucks, etc.  Property tax, of course, doesn’t help or hurt the EDC since we derive no funding from it.

I’ll add to my response that the recent gains we’ve seen in property tax have been mitigated to some extent by the City’s conservative approach to setting the tax rate.  If the City Council were to maintain the tax rate or even adopt the rollback rate, there would be at least some additional funds for some of the extras that I hear people asking about: more residential sidewalks, increased park maintenance, etc.  As it stands today, however, Council and staff are trying to balance the needs and wants of the citizens with keeping those citizens’ tax bills as low as possible—and I applaud them for their efforts.

As always, I’m happy to visit about these or other issues of community interest.  Please let me know if you have any questions, comments, concerns, or observations.

In the last day or so, there has been quite a bit of dialogue about the proposed parking garage on EDC-owned property in Downtown Marble Falls.  While the focus has been squarely on the garage and concerns about losing our small-town feel, there is much more to the overall project than the garage alone.

With the array of amenities that are planned for the Downtown parks, a parking garage will help us consolidate parking rather than paving any more green space than we absolutely must.  The footprint is just over half an acre, versus the multiple acres we would need for surface parking.  Controlled access into and out of a structured garage is much safer than hundreds of parking spaces scattered all over the area.  Lastly, we believe that a strategically-located garage is preferable to asking people to park all over the place and walk several blocks to their destinations in the Texas heat.


A schematic model of the hotel and conference center shows the size of the garage in relation to the entire project

Along with the garage, a fairly long list of Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) projects will be the subject of some discussion by the City Council in the coming weeks.  All of these projects were examined during the budget workshops that took place July 12th and 13th, but formal action will be tied to next year’s budget that begins on October 1st.  The CIP project list was broken up into several phases, with Phase 1a being the package proposed for FY 2017-2018.  Included in Phase 1a are:


All components of Phase 1 of the Downtown CIP projects are projected to be complete within 5 years

Description Opinion of Cost
Boat Ramp $200,000
Yett Street Parking $235,000
Johnson Park Restroom $225,000
Main Street Restroom $125,000
Lakeside Beach and Restroom $476,100
Lakeside Pavilion Parking $340,000
Lakeside Park Trails $120,000
Wayfinding Signage $200,000
Landscaping, Demo, Utilities, Lighting, Etc. $855,000
Mobilization and Contingency $277,610
Total Phase 1a CIP Projects $3,053,710

This package of projects comes directly from the Parks Master Plan that was adopted earlier this year by the City Council.  The parks plan was based on extensive feedback from the community, and many of the above projects—trails, shade, restrooms, a beach, and improved access to the lake—ranked at the top of multiple survey questions.

Of course, with such an extensive list of projects requiring a substantial sum of money, the question about how all of this gets funded is a natural one.  The answer is that the City will consider issuing bonds to pay for the garage and the Phase 1a projects.  The debt service for the garage would come from a combination of hotel occupancy taxes (HOT) and parking fees, while the CIP debt would be serviced using EDC funds, City general funds, HOT funds, and Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone (TIRZ) funds.  In all, the annual debt service would be just under $600,000, with the aforementioned revenue streams covering the payments.

This brings me to the next logical question: what about the impact to the tax rate?  The great news is that all of these projects can be funded even with a slightly lower property tax rate next year.  The staff’s recommendation to the City Council at their meeting on August 1st will be to adopt the effective tax rate of $0.6341, which would be a reduction of $0.0142 (2.2%) from the current rate of $0.6483.  The math works because of additions to the tax roll, strong sales tax growth, and the fact that all but one of the revenue streams to be used to cover the debt service are not tied to City property taxes paid by the general public.  HOT funds, TIRZ funds, and EDC funds are all special-use funds that have specific purposes and limitations dictated by state statutes.

In speaking for the board and staff of the EDC and other members of the City’s leadership team, we are excited about what’s happening in Marble Falls, and especially in the Downtown area.  With the charm and character that come from an array of locally-owned shops and cafes, to upcoming developments including residential projects and a boutique hotel and conference center, to enhanced access to beautiful Lake Marble Falls, we know that we are in the midst of something very special.  The first round of Downtown CIP projects is the culmination of many years of community feedback, planning, and vision.  The structured parking facility is needed to support a Downtown that will become more active and vibrant in the years to come.  And being able to do these things with a reduction to the City property tax rate is a bonus.

Captain Obvious: “Wow—the grand opening of the new H-E-B in Marble Falls is a pretty big deal.”

Admittedly, I knew there would be some buzz surrounding the opening of the new H-E-B, but I was not prepared for more than 2,000 reactions, comments, and shares in the first week of our Facebook video post highlighting last week’s festivities.  Everybody knows that H-E-B is a great company with a loyal following, but I thought I would attempt to provide some specific insights on why this is such a big deal.

Before I do, however, I would like to congratulate VALERIE HIBLER for winning the drawing for $100 in H-E-B gift cards, courtesy of the Marble Falls EDC and Squeaky Wheel Marketing.

And, now, my top ten list:

  1. H-E-B is a Texas-based company with Hill Country roots.  When it comes to community development, the more local, the better.  It just happens to be a huge bonus that H-E-B is the largest private employer in Texas.
  2. H-E-B has great people.  From top to bottom, every H-E-B employee I’ve ever dealt with has been a consummate professional.  David Crail, in particular, has been a pillar of the community and a valuable mentor to me.  At last week’s ceremony, he drew the loudest applause of anyone or anything—so I know others feel the same way I do.  When he announced his retirement last year, it marked the end of one era and the beginning of another.  I know Rudy Gill and his team will do a great job in the coming years.
  3. H-E-B supports the community.  As evidenced by the gifts to the Marble Falls Education Foundation, the Helping Center, and others, H-E-B supports the communities that support their stores.  They truly are a great partner.
  4. H-E-B’s investment in Marble Falls is a beacon that signals the strength of our economy.  During almost every conversation I’ve had over the last year with prospective business owners, I’ve had to answer the question about when the new H-E-B was going to open.  Just as Chick-fil-A represents the strength of the food sector, Baylor Scott & White the healthcare sector, and the hotel and conference center the hospitality sector, H-E-B’s expansion illustrates that they believe in the growth of the Highland Lakes area and that they want to be a part of enhancing the quality of life for our residents and visitors.  And the fact that they did this without any monetary incentives from the EDC or City is icing on the cake.
  5. The H-E-B development project is triggering the revitalization of FM 1431 West.  When H-E-B committed to expanding their presence in Marble Falls, they considered a few sites that would have taken them off of 1431.  Losing H-E-B as an anchor in that area would have been problematic if not devastating for the surrounding businesses.  Instead, all the players involved got creative and figured out a way to make the site work.  Once demolition of the old store and the new parking lot are completed, that area will be a shining example of the right kind of redevelopment.
  6. The opening of the new H-E-B store should stop much of our sales leakage to other communities.  Especially lately, as the shelves of the old store got emptier and the parking lot got tighter, Highland Lakes residents started doing their grocery shopping in communities to our east.  Since they made the trip anyway, they probably stopped and ate somewhere and maybe did some other shopping while they were at it.  The new H-E-B—especially when the parking lot is complete—should give people everything they want from a grocery store and more, thereby keeping more dollars circulating through Marble Falls instead of other communities.
  7. H-E-B’s employment spectrum matches that of the community.  Like the school district and the hospital, H-E-B provides jobs at a variety of wage and skill levels.  These are the top three employers in Marble Falls, accounting for more than 1,500 jobs for professionals with advanced degrees and experience to part-time student workers and retirees.
  8. H-E-B innovates.  From the curbside pickup to the lake gear to the kombucha* station, H-E-B leads the way with fresh, new ideas and products that are appropriate to the communities they serve.
  9. The new H-E-B has ignited a spark in the community.  Outside of a few nice days here and there, the weather around here hasn’t been great lately, and it seems to have led to some moodiness and doldrums that we’re not used to seeing.  That is, until the new H-E-B opened.  Suddenly, everyone is positive and upbeat—even the negative nellies and CAVE people (Citizens Against Virtually Everything) don’t have anything to complain about.
  10. Aisle #1 is beer, and Aisle #2 is wine.  This seems to be the appropriate priority in the correct order, with a very visible Save the World Brewing Company “Go Local” endcap to boot!

* Kombucha (also tea mushroom, Manchurian mushroom, formal name: Medusomyces gisevii[1]) is a variety of fermented, lightly effervescent sweetened black or green tea drinks commonly intended as functional beverages for their supposed health benefits.  (Source: Wikipedia)