Star Fleet Marina

Star Fleet Marina in Kemah is planning an expansion that includes a parking garage and a multistory mixed-use facility.

Stuart Villanueva/The Daily News

Star gazing: A Kemah company known for offering private corporate and group cruises around Clear Lake aboard its fleet of yachts has big plans on the horizon. Star Fleet Marina, 280 Grove Rd., plans to build a parking garage and a five- or six-story mixed-use development for dining, office and commercial users, the Bay Area Houston Economic Partnership reports. Star Fleet, in business for about 20 years, did not return calls. Stay tuned.

Benno’s is back: After closing a few weeks for renovations, Benno’s on the Beach is back with a fresh look. Crews renovated walls, ceilings and added new lighting at the popular island restaurant, 1200 Seawall Blvd. And new tables are on the way, Elaine Deltz, catering manager for Benno’s Enterprises, said. Benno’s on the Beach, which opened in 1983, specializes in Cajun seafood, offering such fare as jambalaya and shrimp étouffée. The last time the restaurant had a makeover was in 1999, Deltz said. “It was just time,” she said. The restaurant this week also has begun serving crawfish.

Dishing it: Meanwhile, in other island dining news, Huli Huli Hut opened this week in the island’s downtown. Reid Linde and Brad Ender own the eatery, 312 19th St. Huli Huli Hut has a full bar and serves traditional breakfast fare along with lunch and dinner, specializing in rotisserie chicken in a tropical setting.

Tune in: An island Realtor is soon to bring some national attention to the island. Barbara Zimmerman of island-based Sand ‘N Sea Properties will be featured on HGTV‘s “Beachfront Bargain Hunt” series. HGTV crews were on location filming in Galveston in April and May. Zimmerman’s clients live in Beaumont and both work in other cities. They wanted an island home where they could “meet halfway” and “honeymoon” together as often as possible. They were enamored by Galveston’s West End, where they found a perfect getaway. The episode airs 7 p.m. Sunday or 2 a.m. Monday.

Medical alert: More information has surfaced about the status of the University of Texas Medical Branch‘s plans to build clinics and facilities on an 11-acre site behind grocery store Randalls, which is on Central City Boulevard off 61st Street on the island. Initially, medical branch officials had projected a spring 2016 opening of the first phase of its 30,000-square-foot West Island Clinic. But officials this week said they’re focusing all their efforts on the construction of the $438 million Jennie Sealy Hospital, expected to open later this year.

“UTMB and The Sealy & Smith Foundation continue to plan for a new outpatient facility on Central City Boulevard,” Michael Shriner, vice president of business operations and facilities, said. “The schedule for the finalization of design and construction has been delayed to allow focus on the April 2016 opening of the new Jennie Sealy hospital on the Galveston campus.”

The Sealy & Smith Foundation has committed $170 million to the Jennie Sealy hospital development, the largest single gift ever given to a Texas health institution.

And The Sealy & Smith Foundation, which for nearly a century has made significant financial contributions to the medical branch, also is making the West Island Clinic possible. The Sealy & Smith Foundation acquired the 11-acre site behind Randalls through a nonprofit affiliate. The foundation also will pay for construction of the West End development. Stay tuned.

Biz maker: A well-known entrepreneur in the county has begun another firm, this time with the intent to guide others in launching their own business. Doreen Hughes has launched Open For Business Consulting, based on the island. Hughes is best known for her company Mainland Testing, which offers drug screening and other services based in Texas City. While leading Mainland Testing, Hughes found her “true calling,” in helping other small business owners grow their companies, she said.

Open For Business Consulting’s core services include branding and marketing, business services and support, leadership and coaching, training and more. Visit for information.

Reach reporter Laura Elder at 409-683-5248 or


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