Glut feeling: Is this contained or contagious? That’s what some observers are wondering after Neighbors Emergency Center recently closed its doors in Texas City, a little less than two years after opening at 3302 Palmer Highway.
Houston-based Neighbors Emergency Center opened the Texas City facility in December 2015 at a time when free-standing emergency rooms and urgent care centers were popping up all over the county and the nation.
Such facilities are meant to be antidotes to long waits in traditional emergency rooms. Officials at Neighbors’ corporate office did not return phone calls. But in August, when Neighbors shut down several Texas locations, the company in a prepared statement told KBTX-TV in College Station the entire industry was “compressing due to over-saturation in some markets.”
Recreational buzz: Crews are moving dirt and working on sewers and streets at what will be Highland Bayou RV Park, 2351 Maxwell St., in La Marque.
The development, on 48.36 acres, will feature 313 RV slips, a boat launch, covered pool, laundry, restroom and shower facilities, city officials confirm. Amenities also include a fishing pier and a freshwater pond. Highland Bayou RV Park is adjacent to Mac McGaffey Highland Bayou Park off Getty Road, the site of La Marque Bayou Fest.
Wholesale rumor: After a long lull, an unsubstantiated rumor that Costco is planning a Clear Lake area location is back and with a vengeance. This time, the rumor has Costco developing a store next to Star Furniture, 20010 Interstate 45. The rumors about Costco planning a store have swirled for years, and whether it’s real or just wishful thinking is hard to say. Costco Wholesale officials have previously and politely noted they never comment until real estate deals are done.
Issaquah, Wash.-based Costco Wholesale Corp. operates an international chain of membership warehouses, selling brand name merchandise at prices substantially lower than conventional retail stores. Costco competes directly with Sam’s Club, which is owned by Walmart. Unlike Costco, Sam’s Club is well represented in the area. Costco has three Houston stores. Stay tuned.
It’s about Tiempo: After four long years and a protracted legal fight, Houston restaurateur Domenic Laurenzo last week opened Laurenzo’s El Tiempo Cantina, 20237 I-45 in Webster.
The highly visible building, formerly occupied by Big Ben Tavern, had for years sat empty as parties sparred in a breach of contract lawsuit that had delayed construction and opening of the 15,000-square-foot building. As previously reported, the parties resolved their legal differences over the summer and the Laurenzo family will control the Webster restaurant, the largest in the company’s portfolio.
Laurenzo’s El Tiempo Cantina is known for making everything from scratch — from the tortillas to the salad dressings, the salsas to the desserts.
The Webster eatery marks the sixth El Tiempo Cantina for the Laurenzo family.
For newcomers, Laurenzo is the grandson of Maria Ninfa Rodriguez Laurenzo, also known as “Mama Ninfa,” who is widely credited with popularizing the fajita among Houstonians.
Hot dish: A tasty rumor is making the rounds that island businessman Allen Flores is cooking up a Strand restaurant concept. The name is unknown, but sources say the eatery will be “casual and fun,” serving seafood, burgers and specialty drinks day and night. Flores started East Beach, Yaga’s Café, Hot Taco Kitchen, The Lounge and other island restaurant and bar concepts. After selling them, he created Bliss Lounge, 2413 Strand. Stay tuned.
Must-see TV: A barbecue joint that’s already famous in these parts is making a national name for itself. Leon’s World’s Finest In & Out Bar-B-Que, 5427 Broadway, and its owner, Leon O’ Neal, are being featured on the Travel Channel at 7 p.m. tonight and also 2 a.m. Monday and 1 p.m. Jan. 6. The segment previously aired Dec. 10.
Mailbag: A reader emailed: “When you have time, please find out what Cinemark plans to do. I think the lease is about to be up at Mall of the Mainland.”
The lease was up in December 2016, but Friendswood attorney and developer Jerome Karam, who in 2015 acquired the Texas City mall at 10000 Emmett F. Lowry Expressway, said Cinemark Movies 12 had renewed its lease at the property. Karam declined to say for how long, but said it was for several years.