Check-in time: Remember those rumors flying around in November that island businessman Dennis Byrd was planning to buy the hotel property formerly known as Holiday Inn SunSpree Resort, 1702 Seawall Blvd.? Well, Byrd bought it and is planning to remodel “every square inch” of the 97-room property, he said.

Byrd acquired the hotel from Mark Wyant, who in 2005 opened Holiday Inn SunSpree Resort, and recently changed the name to Galveston Beach Hotel. It was unclear Monday why Wyant changed the hotel’s brand. The hotel will remain open during remodeling.

Also getting a major makeover is the hotel’s beach bar, Captain Jack’s. Byrd said he intends to spend the next 12 or so months repositioning the property and investing a significant amount of money into the remodeling. He declined to divulge too much detail, but said the bar would get a new look, new name and new menu. A fun, hip beach-front pool also is in the works at the property.

But that acquisition doesn’t mean Byrd has given up plans to open an eight-story boutique hotel on the corner of 33rd Street and Seawall Boulevard, on the site of a former gas station and convenience store. Byrd wants to complete the existing project before launching another one, he said.

Byrd has been steadily expanding his empire, which includes the popular eatery The Spot and concepts Tiki Bar, Squeeze Ritas & Tequilas, RumShack and, most recently, SideYard — all of which are in one complex at 3204 Seawall Blvd.

Byrd is bullish on the island.

“We’re actively looking for more land for future projects,” he said. “This is where we want to develop.”

Pool side: Nearly six years after being sidelined by Hurricane Ike, a public pool is underway at the city of Jamaica Beach on the island’s West End.

The $600,000 pool, about 76 feet by 70 feet, is being funded through hotel occupancy taxes and is set to open by July 1, said City Administrator John Brick. Hotel occupancy tax is imposed on the rental of a room or house.

The city was set to build the pool before the storm struck in September 2008, but it had been working on the project long before that.

“We’ve been trying to do this for 20 years,” Brick said.

Firm Gautier/ Fichera is the general contractor.

Web watch: Some creative county residents have opened online stores.

First, Tiki Island resident Shari Daughtry has launched BullRed Clothing Inc., offering fishing shirts for babies at Daughtry got the idea to make the onesies after attending a baby shower for a friend’s daughter. She wanted to buy an infant fishing shirt as a shower present. But when she searched for one, she learned manufacturers didn’t make them.

“Thus, by necessity, the idea was born,” Daughtry said in a note on her website. “I thought if I manufactured infant fishing shirts, virtually every one of the fathers we knew, and especially the grandparents, would love to have one for their child/grandchild.”

BullRed Clothing is the only manufacturer of a onesie-style, infant/toddler fishing shirt made in the USA. Just like an authentic angler’s shirt, the infant and toddler fishing onesies come complete with a vent in the back, fly-box pockets on the chest, tabs to keep the sleeves rolled and even a utility loop.

Meanwhile, Dickinson resident Cooky Oberg has launched an online business that pays tribute to the hard work of parenting. Mommy Medals and Daddy Decorations — mommymedalsand — offers a jewelry and novelties line that features medals, necklaces, charms, pendants, belt buckles, dog tags, lapel pins and other items with such messages as “Best Mom” or “Best Dad Ever.”

“I dreamed about this business 20 years ago — I wondered why nobody ever gave moms and dads medals for all the wonderful things that they do,” Oberg said. “There should be a special ‘gift of gratitude’ for them.”

Oberg said she uses high-quality metals, and the items have engraving plates on the back for patrons to share a personalized sentiment.

“As a parent, I had many years of pride and happiness,” Oberg blogged on her website. “But on those difficult days when my kids had high fevers, spat antibiotic syrup at the ceiling, and stayed up all night with coughs that could be heard in the next county, I muttered to myself: ‘They don’t give you a medal for this.’”

Her daughter-in-law, Georgia Oberg, is a partner in the online business.

(3) comments

Rich Gray

Congratulations Dennis. You make things happen in Galveston! When are you going to run for office. And this question comes from one who lives 2000 miles away. What you do in and for Galveston does not go unnoticed!

Steve Fouga

When I lived in Fort Worth and visited Galveston, the Holiday Inn Sunspree was one of my favorites. Nice location, good views, semi-reasonable prices. I have no doubt it'll continue to be successful under new ownership. Probably even better than before.

Miceal O'Laochdha

I liked it better when Woody's and that Mexican restaurant next door were still there. I guess you could say Woody's is bigger and better after its land-tow down the seawall but, I liked it better here. And that was yet another good, small Mexican restaurant gone.

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