Hotel no-tell: Rumors are flying that island businessman Dennis Byrd has bought, or is planning to buy, the Holiday Inn SunSpree Resort, 1702 Seawall Blvd., with intentions to reflag it under a Hilton brand. Byrd on Monday declined to comment. And Mark Wyant, who in 2005 opened the 100-room Holiday SunSpree Resort at the site formerly occupied by hotel Captain Jack’s, has not responded to inquiries.
Byrd has been steadily expanding his empire, which includes popular eatery The Spot and concepts Tiki Bar, Squeeze Ritas & Tequilas, RumShack and, most recently, SideYard — all of which are in one complex at 3204 Seawall Blvd.
And it’s no secret Byrd has been considering adding hotelier to his résumé. A year ago, Byrd confirmed he was planning an 8-story hotel on the corner of 33rd Street and Seawall Boulevard, on the site of a former gas station and convenience store. He projected development would commence in the first quarter next year. Should the rumors about the SunSpree be true, it’s unclear whether Byrd would move forward with that development. Stay tuned.
Checking in: Meanwhile, look for crews in the first quarter next year to finally begin building the 90-plus room Best Western, 8502 Seawall Blvd.
Hotelier Sam Gandhi is behind the hotel, which will rise on land formerly occupied by Reef Resort Apartments. The Gandhi family had planned to renovate the 36-unit apartment complex, which dated back to the 1970s and sustained severe damage during Hurricane Ike. But the family decided it would be more cost-effective to demolish the eyesore and proceed with a hotel. Michael Gaertner is the architect.
The family owns island properties Days Inn & Suites, 8711 Stewart Road; La Quinta Inn and Suites, 8710 Seawall; Holiday Inn Express, 8628 Seawall Blvd.; and Travel Lodge, 3924 Ave. U. Stay tuned.
Spot on: A fondness for island living has lured a Houston firm to Galveston. Inkspot Creative, a marketing communications firm that helps businesses promote their products and services, has moved to the island from the Houston Heights. And some readers might recognize the name of Inkspot Creative owners — Stephen Hadley, a former reporter and editor for The Daily News and the Texas City Sun, and his wife, Rebecca Hadley, a journalist who previously worked as an editor at the Baytown Sun and Houston Chronicle.
Inkspot Creative, in its ninth year, specializes in designing websites and creating publications, email newsletters, logos, advertisements, direct mail and other material used by companies of all sizes to market their businesses.
Stephen, a Santa Fe native, is an avid surfer, while Rebecca enjoys bird-watching.
“Galveston has long held a special place in my heart, having spent much of my youth surfing its beaches and marveling at its beauty,” Stephen Hadley said. “We are thrilled to be returning to the area, and are looking forward to being a part of this vibrant community.”
For information, visit www.inkspotcreative.com or call 713-382-3533.
Buffet buzz: After weeks of pecking away at construction, Hartz Chicken Buffet has officially opened its latest location, 2711 Palmer Highway in Texas City. By all accounts, the eatery, in the building formerly occupied by Texas Seafood, was well received.
Hartz, which has 65 locations in Texas and Malaysia, is known for its marinated chicken and oversized yeast rolls, along with side dishes, vegetables and casseroles. Want to talk chicken? Visit Buzz Blog, galvnews.com.