Behind the wheel: Rumors are racing around the county that German automaker BMW is scouting for property to develop a processing center for new vehicles that arrive at the Port of Galveston. One unconfirmed rumor is that BMW is eyeing property owned by Farmer’s Copper at 37th Street and Harborside Drive.

Coincidentally — or not — Four Winds Investments Inc., a holding company, which includes subsidiaries Farmer’s Copper and Farmer’s Alloy Fabricating, has an earnest money contract on the vacant Sam’s Club building, 9300 Emmett F. Lowry Expressway in Texas City. But another rumor has it that BMW is considering a vehicle processing center at the old Blimp Base, 7526 Blimp Base Road, just off FM 2004 in Hitchcock.

Vehicle processing centers are a promising market for the port and for owners of private property near the public docks. The city’s Industrial Development Corp. earlier this year awarded $1 million to the port for development of such a center. 

The city’s seven-member Industrial Development Corp. administers revenues generated by a half-cent economic development sales tax. At the time, port officials said one vehicle processing center could generate as many as 55 jobs. The port said it would prepare Pier 15 for such a development.

Port officials said they didn’t know whether BMW was negotiating with any owners of private property near the waterfront.

It isn’t far-fetched for BMW to want a processing center near the port. Ocean transport provider Wallenius Wilhelmsen, whose Gulf Coast hub is Galveston, is a carrier for BMW. And other new-car manufacturers have approached the port about such a center. With a booming Texas economy, demand for new cars is on the rise. Having a nearby processing center, where employees determine whether vehicles have been damaged or dinged during transport, would be efficient and speed delivery to Texas dealerships. Stay tuned.

Steak out: If good things are worth the wait, then upscale steakhouse Number 13 should be a big hit. Owners report the eatery at 7819 Broadway in Galveston is about two weeks from opening. They’d hoped to open this week, but a few projects were delaying the restaurant’s debut. 

“We’re very anxious to get up and running and can’t wait to share the restaurant with Galveston,” said Jessica Hall, the RK Group’s marketing and community relations director. 

The RK Group is partnering with Pelican Rest Marina to open Number 13, which will serve a range of fillets and choice cuts of meat from lamb to pork. It will procure seafood from local markets and from across the nation. And it will serve decadent desserts. 

The name “Number 13” was the collective alias of brother pirates Pierre and Jean Lafitte. In late 1815 and early 1816, during the Mexican War of Independence, the Lafitte brothers agreed to act both as spies for Spain and revolutionaries in Mexico and based their activities in Galveston. 

Hall promises to serve up a firm opening date soon. Stay tuned.

Brewing again: Island coffee shop Nada, 408 20th St. downtown, has reopened. The shop was closed for several weeks as owner David Watson recovered from a fall on a construction site. Watson, an architect, was one of two men hurt earlier this month after falling about 18 feet inside the Hendley Market Building, 2010 Strand. Nada has reopened with a list of new specialty drinks, including Pumpkin Spice Latte, Tuxedo Latte and Mocha Raspberry Latte, to name a few.

“Of course, we will have our usual selection of decadent muffins and brownies,” Watson reports.

Laura Elder is a reporter for The Daily News. Biz Buzz appears Tuesdays and Thursdays. Email your tips and suggestions to

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