Complex contagion: It seems wherever you look in Houston, a luxury apartment complex is on the rise. Now, signs are emerging that the multifamily building boom might be headed this way.
Consider the metal fence and other signs of impending construction at state Highway 96 and Walker Road in League City. That’s where Indianapolis-based Watermark Properties is planning a 368-unit complex on 21.4 acres. Watermark officials did not immediately return phone calls, but the company’s Houston-area units typically average 1,000 square feet and rent for an average of $1.20 a square foot, according to reports. No word on amenities or when construction will commence. Stay tuned.
Meanwhile, Sueba USA Corp., known for posh multifamily developments in and around Houston, has acquired 12 acres on the east side of Interstate 45 with plans to build 347 upscale apartments. The proposed site is very near LongHorn Steakhouse and the three-story Kelsey-Seybold Clinic underway. Look for construction to begin in the first quarter next year.
Finally, Western Rim Investors has purchased 15 acres at 3300 Bayport Blvd. in Seabrook with plans to build a 416-unit luxury apartment complex. Western Rim Investors declined to elaborate about plans. Rob Banzhaf of Newcor Commercial Real Estate represented seller Webster-based WMF Investments in the transaction. Jason Kieschnick of Zann Commercial Brokerage represented the buyer.
Bayou bites: A new island eatery and bar has opened — softly. On the Bayou, 6028 Heards Lane (in the building on the shores of English Bayou formerly occupied by Flamingo Steak and Seafood), is open for lunch and dinner. On the Bayou, home to a restaurant called George’s Texas Cuisine and a bar called T-Bones Sports Bar and Pub, opted for a soft opening to work out any kinks. The restaurant serves up Texas cuisine, seafood and steaks. Look for a grand opening Friday.
Biding time: Meanwhile, Doug Thomas, a principal with On the Bayou, is involved with the redevelopment of the former Balinese Room, 2107 Seawall Blvd. Thomas last week reported that plans to transform the famous drinking and gambling spot are in the design phase.
Developers plan to erect a 3,000-seat amphitheater and several restaurants at the site on a pier over the Gulf of Mexico. But don’t look for any activity soon. It could take six months to a year for the development group to obtain all the proper permits from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Thomas said.
The gambling hall operated on a pier 600 feet into the Gulf of Mexico during the 1940s and 1950s. Sicilian immigrant brothers Sam and Rosario Maceo ran the Balinese Room, which featured entertainment by the likes of Frank Sinatra, Bob Hope and George Burns. Later, businessman and attorney Scott Arnold operated a club at the site until Hurricane Ike pulverized it in September 2008. (Read more soon on the status of Arnold’s Texas City venture America’s Icehouse, 622 Sixth St.)
The city has approved necessary zoning changes and granted the Balinese Room investment group a variance to the requirement of one parking space for every 200 square feet involved in the operation.
“We’re going at it,” Thomas said of efforts to get the development underway. “It’s definitely going forward.”
Buzz blooper: An item last week should have said that Michael File was the owner of House of File Technology Lounge, 1103 FM 517 E., in Dickinson. File is planning a grand opening from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. today. House of File Technology Lounge, next to popular eatery Sesame House, will provide training on a variety of technology, including using mobile devices and how to develop websites and mobile apps. It also will offer consulting services.
Now open: There’s a new insurance agency in town. Texas City businesswoman Vicki Clark, owner of PC & Waterfront Financial, has opened Mainland Insurance Agency, 2410 25th Ave. N. Her family members are direct partners in the agency, which intends to offer products for most everyone, including waterfront and island homeowners who sometimes get turned down because their properties are considered too risky, Clark said.
The agency’s goal is to handle customer concerns in house, rather than making them call a toll-free number to deal with an automated system. Visit mainlandinsuranceagency.com for information.
Going pro: As promised, Richard Hindman has delivered key dates for the opening of his GC Rollers Pro Shop, inside Bowlmor AMF Star Lanes, 2404 Palmer Highway in Texas City. Hindman is planning a soft opening Thursday and a grand opening July 5, with prizes and giveaways, including a bowling ball. The pro shop will offer products and services for league, competition and casual bowlers, along with bowling lessons.