ZIPped lips: On paper, it’s the kind of high-tech industry League City officials have dreamed about and one they would certainly want to trumpet loudly. But on June 30, when California-based software company AccuZIP announced it would move its corporate headquarters to League City, creating about 70 new jobs, there was nary a peep from city officials.
AccuZip, which specializes in data and direct mail software, said it would join the ranks of household names such as Google, Apple, Dropbox and Oracle, which all recently expanded major campuses in Texas. The new Texas corporate headquarters would be one of those trendy Silicon Valley setups, or as AccuZip describes it, a “hybrid office environment, which incorporates a range of spaces and gives each employee the autonomy to move between them throughout the day; a workout gym and entertainment area with games such as pool, foosball, pinball, video games, air-hockey and other games; and commercial bathrooms with showers.”
AccuZip’s software, certified by the U.S. Postal Service, helps businesses correct and standardize addresses for more efficient delivery, according to its marketing material. Business owners can run their mailing lists through AccuZip, and the software will compare the lists against the U.S. Postal Service database to ensure they’re current and that there aren’t duplicates.
So, why were League City officials so subdued about what seems like a dream deal?
Scott D. Livingston, director of economic development for League City, said city officials didn’t want to hype the plan until they knew it was the real thing. If it doesn’t pan out, hyping it would have served only to disappoint residents, Livingston said.
AccuZip has acquired 10 acres behind Keen Transport, 2025 Nichols Ave., according to the Bay Area Economic Development Partnership. But city officials haven’t heard from AccuZip for about two months and exactly how AccuZip would access the League City property it acquired hasn’t quite been ironed out, Livingston said.
To date, AccuZip officials have not applied for any permits and officials with that company couldn’t be reached by Biz Buzz for comment. Stay tuned.
Strip tease: More details have emerged about that new strip center underway next to Panda Express in La Marque. Capital Retail Properties, which is developing the 15,056-square-foot center, already has secured two tenants — GNC, a retailer of health and sports related vitamins, supplements and more; and Leslie’s Pool Supplies, which sells supplies to owners of residential and commercial pools.
With those tenants secured, the strip center, called La Marque Crossing, has about 10,000 square feet remaining. Look for tenants to begin moving in during the second and third quarters next year.
Checking in: Meanwhile, La Marque officials have heard the rumors a developer is planning a Best Western hotel in the city, but nothing has officially surfaced, they said. Stay tuned.
Burger bummer: Casual dining chain Fuddruckers last week surprised islanders by closing its downtown restaurant, 111 23rd St., which by all accounts appeared to stay busy, but apparently not busy enough.
Fuddruckers, known for burgers, didn’t return after Hurricane Ike in 2008 flooded its downtown building. At the time, a company owned by island native Tilman Fertitta owned the Galveston Fuddruckers.
Stand-up comedian Carlos Mencia later opened Maggie Rita’s Mexican Grill & Bar in the island Fuddruckers spot. But that concept bid adios in 2012. That same year, Luby’s, which in 2010 had acquired the Fuddruckers chain for $61 million, reopened Fuddruckers in the island’s downtown.
Houston-based Luby’s owns 169 restaurants. Its primary brands include Luby’s Cafeteria, Cheeseburger in Paradise, Fuddruckers and Luby’s Culinary Contract Services.
In July, Luby’s Inc. said Fuddruckers’ third-quarter sales at company-owned restaurants decreased $1.1 million compared with the same period a year ago. The company also reported a 0.9 percent decrease in same-store sales as a result of “a 5.6 percent decrease in guest traffic, offset by a 4.7 percent increase in average spend per guest.”
Luby’s continually evaluates the performance of its restaurants and closes those that aren’t achieving goals, spokesman Rick Black said Friday. Also, the lease was ending at the downtown site, Black said.
Fuddruckers was the final restaurant presence Luby’s had on the island. In 2009, the company closed its Luby’s Cafeteria, 6125 Central City Blvd.
End of an era? A famous Galveston bed-and-breakfast has closed and is on the market. The Victorian Inn Bed & Breakfast, 511 17th St. — award-winning and nationally renowned — closed at the end of August. Don Mafrige, who originally went into partnership with Steve Greenberg before buying him out, owns the property, a circa 1899 mansion that was transformed into the island’s first bed-and-breakfast in 1981.
Marcy Hanson, a former Playboy Playmate from one of the oldest families still residing on the island — dating back to the pirate days of Jean Lafitte — had been innkeeper since 1992. During that time, the bed-and-breakfast won praise and accolades from the Travel and Discovery channels, MSNBC and TripAdvisor, among others.
As innkeeper, Hanson added an official wildlife habitat, certified butterfly way station, a bunny sanctuary and bird aviary to the gardens of the inn. Hanson is still caring for the bunnies on the property.
After Christmas, she knew it was time to move on, she said.
“It’s someone else’s turn,” she said. “I’ve given every Valentine’s Day and Christmas morning to help create memories that will last a lifetime.”
The house was built by Isaac Heffron and survived the 1900 Storm. Hanson hopes the new buyer transforms it into an elegant boutique hotel, she said.
Mafrige said there has been interest from prospective buyers.
Martha Turner Sotheby’s International Realty is listing the house for sale.