Steak out: Texas City readers hungry for Golden Corral to open in the building formerly occupied by Ryan’s might have to curb their appetites. A manager answering the phones at the island Golden Corral on Thursday said the Searcy family, which owns Golden Corral restaurants in Galveston and Rosenberg, is focused on opening a Louisiana restaurant before the year ends. With the focus on Louisiana, any plans for a Texas City restaurant would have to wait.
Marvin Searcy owns the popular Golden Corral at 6200 Seawall Blvd. on the island, known for its buffet.
His son Jonathan Searcy, who manages the island Golden Corral, last year confirmed the family was considering a Golden Corral for the Ryan’s building, 2310 FM 2004. Ryan’s, which closed in February, was a steakhouse and buffet concept, too.
But Jonathan Searcy has always been clear that nothing was official and that any plan needed approval from Golden Corral corporate offices. Stay tuned.
Pickup lines: Kemah shoppers like their digital options so much that the Wal-Mart Supercenter, 255 FM 518, is among the first of the retailer’s Houston area stores to debut the company’s new pickup tower technology.
The 16-foot towers work like this: Shoppers buy something on walmart.com and select a pickup option at checkout. Associates load the merchandise into the pickup tower and shoppers retrieve it by scanning bar codes sent to their smartphones.
Installation of the tower at the Kemah Wal-Mart was part of a major remodel of the store completed this week that included online grocery pickup, an enhanced electronics department, more self-checkouts and the addition of a FedEx store, to name a few.
What’s that? A reader emailed to ask: What is being built adjacent to the new Mattress Firm near Five Corners (in League City)?
The answer: As previously buzzed, that’s a building to house fast-food eatery Chicken Express, 1806 Main St. Its grand opening is scheduled for October, League City spokeswoman Bridget Kramer said.
Chicken Express, based in Mineral Wells is known for its slogan “Our chicken can’t fly, so we deliver,” and serves fast-food chicken through dine-in, drive-through and delivery concepts. Earlier this year, Chicken Express opened at 4210 FM 1764 in Santa Fe.
Silver market: Some readers are wondering when senior living development The Delaney at South Shore, underway at 2605 Marina Bay in League City, will open. Officials haven’t divulged an exact opening date, but said they are planning a winter debut.
The development will feature 117 private apartment residences designed for and marketed to seniors seeking independent living. The development also includes Hamlets at The Delaney with 55 residences for people who need assistance with daily activities, along with 32 studio suites for residents with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias requiring specialized memory care.
LCS Development is behind The Delaney at South Shore; Life Care Services, a LCS company, will manage it. The Delaney already has opened its information center and named Lisa Gilles-Petruna as executive director and Vera Steinmetz as director of marketing and sales.
Checking in: Inquiring readers want to know about all that activity at the 59-room Mariner Inn, 1602 Seawall Blvd., on the island. Owners closed the property in January to prepare for a major makeover. But before renovations can begin, crews must remove asbestos, which is what they’re working on, said Michael Gaertner, architect on the development. Gaertner described the asbestos as having a “popcorn” texture — the kind that builders sprayed on ceilings in the 1960s. It isn’t difficult to remove, but there are precautions to take, he said.
“Everything regarding asbestos is highly regulated to make sure no one inhales a speck of it,” he said.
Jalaram Enterprises, which owns the property, initially planned to demolish and rebuild, but instead plans a “down-to-the-bare structure makeover with new electrical and plumbing.” Plans call for demolishing the office building, pool and three of the rooms. Crews will convert three of the rooms on the east side into an office and lobby, Gaertner said. Stay tuned.
Spot me: A popular downtown island gym on Monday will begin operations as a 24-hour fitness center.
Urban Health & Fitness, 2009 Postoffice St., made the move to operate 24 hours a day to accommodate members on an island where health care — namely the University of Texas Medical Branch — and the service industry are major employers.
“We really wanted to meet the demand of our members, many of whom are UTMB employees, maritime shift workers, service industry staff and students,” said Le Bergin, who, with her husband, Peter, owns Urban Health & Fitness, Total Fitness and Island Boot Camp under the umbrella of Galveston Gyms. “We are constantly seeking ways to offer options for every fitness journey.”
Who’s meeting who? Usually, before anyone builds or renovates anything on the island, they convene with city officials in predevelopment meetings. Such meetings are meant to answer questions before any issues arise. While information about the meetings isn’t very detailed, Biz Buzz does know that city officials have met in the past two months with:
• Rob C. Erni of Jones|Carter, an engineering firm, to discuss land planning for the undeveloped tract west of the last beach side section of Pointe West. The developer wanted to discuss the suitability of a high-end, privately gated single-family community that did not connect to the adjacent Pointe West section, according to information provided by the city. Pointe West is a resort/residential development on the westernmost tip of the island;
• Sean Brookins and Jackie Seaman about a possible brewery at 212 15th St.;
• Melissa Boyer to discuss a total remodel of a fourplex, 1219 33rd St.;
• John May of Four Seasons Realty to discuss building requirements, including fire sprinkler requirements, for a lease space at 500 Seawall Blvd., which is the retail space beneath the high-rise condominium Emerald by the Sea.
Next week: Santa Fe-based Haak Vineyards & Winery takes home more gold at two prestigious international wine competitions. Read more about it next week.