Business - Texas City Old HEB Building

The old H-E-B location on 21st Street in Texas City may soon have a new use.

Stuart Villanueva/The Daily News

Building suspense: Inquiring readers want to know about all that activity at the building previously occupied by grocer H-E-B, 918 21st St. in Texas City. People have been sighted in and around the building that was left empty in 2015 when H-E-B built a larger store at the corner of state Highway 146 and Palmer Highway in Texas City.

Although no one has submitted applications for permits, there has been talk that a Dallas area developer is considering buying and renovating the entire retail center that’s anchored by the old H-E-B building, said Doug Kneupper, the city’s engineer. H-E-B still maintains the lease at its former building. More details about the developer and plans for the center weren’t immediately available. Stay tuned.

Truck stops here: Elsewhere in Texas City, a lot of people are wondering what’s soon to rise on a parcel at FM 519 and state Highway 146. Kneupper confirms a truck stop and convenience store called Oasis has plans for the site. While the establishment will offer fuel for truckers, it also will accommodate automobiles, Kneupper said.

Rooftop report: Lately in Texas City, Lago Mar, a community that will eventually be home to 4,000 families off Interstate 45, is stealing the spotlight. But smaller residential developments also are planned in the city, Kneupper reports.

First, there’s Heron’s Landing, on Ninth Street North, west of Pelican Harbor and north of Swallows Meadow and The Islands. The initial phase of Heron’s Landing will include 40 lots. Crews have poured concrete and installed water and sewer infrastructure. The development is about a month away from the first home start, Kneupper said.

Meanwhile, anyone driving along state Highway 3 in Texas City may have noticed some big, earth-moving equipment. It’s the start of a sandpit that eventually will become a lake amenity in a residential development north of 25th Avenue, across from South Humble Camp Road. Eventually, that residential development will include about 200 homes, Kneupper said.

“It’s exciting,” he said. “These are going to be good projects.”

Cruise control: While the Port of Galveston might have scored a victory against its rival to the north in the competition for cruise ships, it’s seeing some fresh competition in the car business.

Washington-based Auto Warehousing Co. is converting the former Bayport Cruise Terminal into an auto processing facility, the Bay Area Houston Economic Partnership reports. Auto Warehousing will provide aftermarket upgrades to imported vehicles and deliver them to dealerships. The company will process about 36,000 vehicles in the next three years at the site. Initially, 25 jobs will be created, ramping up to 150 by the time it’s fully operational, the partnership reports.

In August 2015, less than three years after Port of Houston commissioners authorized millions of dollars in incentives to lure Princess Cruises and Norwegian Cruise Lines to its long-empty, $108 million Bayport Cruise Terminal, the two operators decided to sail away from the Pasadena site. The Port of Galveston ranks fourth in the nation for cruise passenger embarkations, with about 835,000 passengers a year boarding and 1.67 million total moving through the port.

But cars are becoming increasingly important to the island port. Last year, the Port of Galveston and Wallenius Wilhelmsen Vehicle Services Americas debuted an $11 million vehicle-processing center in a public-private partnership. The processing center imports more than 32,000 BMW and MINI vehicles a year. Those vehicles will be sent to 45 dealerships in Oklahoma, Louisiana an Arkansas.

Inked deal: In the world of tattoo artists, Chauncey Köchel is something of a celebrity. Köchel appeared in the eighth season of TV show “Ink Master” and works with billboard rock artists on album art, while also providing art and branding for several saltwater apparel companies. Köchel now operates Rock N Rose Tattoo Co., Galveston’s first and only body art studio. Köchel’s studio is in West Island Professional Center, 6511 Stewart Road.

People come from all over the United States, Canada, Mexico and Europe for body art by Köchel.

Rock N Rose also offers cosmetic and reconstructive tattooing for mastectomy patients, along with stretch mark tattooing and permanent cosmetics.

Kay and Benny Davis own and manage West Island Professional Center.

Reach reporter Laura Elder at 409-683-5248 or laura.elder@galvnews.com.

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