Lofty ambitions: Atlanta-based SF Capital last week unveiled plans for its latest renovation project — The Strand Historic Lofts, 2400 Mechanic St. in the island’s downtown.
Will Stolz and Jeff Freeman, principals of SF Capital, offered Buzz a tour and shared plans for the historic building, which dates to 1890 and was the home office of Clarke & Courts Printing, one of the most successful printers in Texas during the early 20th century.
SF Capital acquired the building in September from developer Randall Davis, who in 1995 converted it into 37 apartments.
Stolz and Freeman, who are converting the apartments to condominiums for sale, had been in Houston looking at investment properties when someone suggested they look at the island building.
“We fell in love,” Freeman said.
Some developers offer built-from-scratch lofts that never feel authentic. But the island building, designed by architect Nicholas Clayton, came with authentic tongue-and-groove pine floors, 12- to 14-foot ceilings, exposed brick, timbers, iron arches and turnbuckles, tin-clad rolling fire doors and giant windows, not to mention interesting original features, including old vaults, antique elevator cables and carriages.
“When you imagine what a loft ought to look like, that’s this building,” Stolz said. “We started with a great building.”
One of the first orders of business was to remove some of the interior touches by Davis that were popular in the 1990s, including the mauves, pinks and yellows and other flourishes in the common areas, the glass block windows and black-and-white checkered floors. The developers are adding hues and design features that complement the building’s history.
SF Capital is spending $100,000 on each unit, which will include updated kitchens and bathrooms, USB-charging ports in the walls, designer lighting, modern closet systems and double-height cabinets with rolling ladder access.
The building also has garage parking, a rare amenity in downtown developments. The condominiums range from 900 square feet to nearly 1,900 square feet. Prices start in the low $200,000s. The Marketing Directors is handling sales.
“We’re big fans,” Stolz said. “You don’t always get to work on a building like this.”
Planting seeds: When mid-county residents want to go to a farmers market, they usually trek to the island or the Clear Lake area. But that soon could change.
Sharon Jacobson and Madelen Poston plan to launch Coastal Community Farmers Market at Sixth Street and Sixth Avenue in Texas City. Jacobson and her daughter, who own the home-based bakery 2 Southern Girls, will sell baked goods; Poston, aka The Pickle Lady, will sell jams and jellies; And area farmers will sell organic and local produce.
Many more vendors will sell at the market, which aims for its offerings to be 90 percent produce.
The founders of Coastal Community Farmers Market want the venue to be old-fashioned and authentic, meaning there won’t be a lot of crafts for sale. The group is reaching out to farmers and other vendors.
Along with the produce, canning products and baked goods, the market also will offer such fare as fresh breads, cheese, honey, nuts and nut butters by local producers.
As the market grows, it also will offer classes and promote local charities. When it opens this summer, the market will operate Saturdays. No word on an opening date. Stay tuned.
ER fever: Area hospitals continue to see competition for emergency room patients as urgent care and emergency care centers proliferate. First Choice Emergency Room is building a free-standing facility at 255 E. Parkwood Ave., next to Amoco Federal Credit Union, in Friendswood. Meanwhile, Texas Emergency Care Center has opened at 1520 S. Friendswood Drive in the same city.
Grocer gossip: Is Dickinson’s Kroger Signature store soon to get a major makeover? Read more about it in Tuesday’s Biz Buzz.