Material development: Texas City officials on Feb. 10 issued the necessary permits for construction of key buildings at the long-awaited theme park Adventure Pointe on 25 acres fronting Interstate 45, south of Tanger Outlets in Texas City.
Now, the theme park’s developer and creator, Dr. Harvey Slusky, is awaiting construction materials to arrive, which should be in April, he said. If all goes as planned and weather permits, crews should commence construction of Adventure Pointe’s Main Street building and a pirate ship building in mid-May, Slusky said.
Area residents have been waiting for the theme park ever since Slusky in March 2013 announced plans for the venture. While construction began last year, most of the work has been for infrastructure.
The park’s main historical reference will be a collection of trains that belonged to Slusky’s father, Louis Slusky, who operated Playland Park in Houston from the late 1940s to 1969, and in Galveston from the late 1960s to the early 1970s.
Grocer gossip: Will a grocery store ever open in Galveston’s mid-city? Officials said they are trying to make it happen.
Mayor Jim Yarbrough and others are aggressively working to generate interest among grocers in the building long ago occupied by Gerland’s at 2402 45th St.
One possible grocer city officials say is a good fit for the 45th Street site is Aldi, a no-frills chain, which for several years has been shopping for an island location.
Aldi initially had been interested in opening on part of a 3.75-acre tract at Broadway and 54th Street. But the supermarket wanted a traffic light at the intersection, which wasn’t feasible, officials have said.
Meanwhile, city officials still hope to court H-E-B, Yarbrough said. H-E-B didn’t reopen after Hurricane Ike struck in 2008.
The Gerland’s site has been a sore subject for years. Area residents have long complained about the condition of the vacant 26,000-square-foot building, and the Martini family, which has owned it for years, had been at odds with the city over various code violations.
Neighbors to the property have long hoped for a new grocery store at the site and grocers at times have shown interest, but deals fell through. Should a proposed $62 million bond election pass on May 6, officials hope to infuse money in the 45th Street area with street repairs and drainage improvements, Yarbrough said. Sonny Martini could not be reached for comment.
Price isn’t right: Meanwhile, city officials have withdrawn an offer for a long-vacant building on Broadway, citing the price.
The city was considering buying the building formerly occupied by Simp’s Kitchen and years ago by a Dairy Queen, 2528 Broadway. The city wanted to buy the building, demolish it and enter into a long-term arrangement with the Galveston-based International Oleander Society to move its Oleander Garden Park, 2624 Sealy, to the restaurant site. The city would then enter into an agreement with the Mary Moody Northen Endowment to use the former site of the Oleander Garden Park as a parking lot for a new fire and EMS station that replaced Central Fire Station downtown. The proposed parking lot also would accommodate overflow from the Galveston Children’s Museum.
The city had hoped to get the land under contract, and eventually reimburse city coffers with the grant money. The idea was to give the Oleander Garden Park more exposure, while beautifying Broadway, Yarbrough said. It’s all part of a much broader and ambitious movement to improve the area north of Broadway and west of 25th Street, he said. The building’s owner was asking about $370,000, but city officials had hoped to negotiate a much better deal. It’s possible a deal could eventually be reached, Yarbrough said.
Hooters hearsay: Several unsubstantiated rumors are flying around town about Hooters‘ plans for an island return. One such rumor is that the breastaurant has decided to open in the spot formerly occupied by Joe’s Crab Shack on Pier 19.
But reliable sources say Hooters is not among the restaurants that have responded to request for proposals from the Port of Galveston, which controls the Joe’s Crab Shack site. And port officials say they can’t comment about ongoing real estate negotiations.
Meanwhile, Hooters maintains its silence about where it plans to land.
All hard evidence, however, points to 6028 Heards Lane, a property for which Hooters had filed a permit application for an interior build-out in the 10,000-square-foot building most recently occupied by George’s Texas Cuisine and T-Bones Sports Bar. And this week, the city said: “The planning department is currently waiting for the applicant to submit an updated landscape plan for the 61st and Heards site.”
Hooters, a chain known for chicken wings and sexy waitresses in orange short-shorts, in September confirmed it would return to the island eight years after Hurricane Ike smashed to pieces its popular Seawall restaurant on a pier over the Gulf of Mexico.
Fried and true: Good things come to those who wait. After months of construction and some hiccups along the way, Frenchy’s Chicken this week opened on the island, 6105 Stewart Road.
The restaurant marks a return to the island for the Houston-based chain. In the 1980s, a different franchisee operated Frenchy’s Chicken at 2823 Broadway, where fast-food eatery Henry’s operates today, but the economy faltered and it closed.
In 1969, Percy “Frenchy” Creuzot Jr. established the Houston-based chain famous for serving up Louisiana Creole cuisine. Besides chicken, Frenchy’s serves such sides as dirty rice, red beans and gumbo and has a loyal following.
Franchisee Andrew Pollman on Wednesday said business was brisk at the freshly opened island Frenchy’s.
Bonefish gone: Some readers are wondering what happened to Bonefish Grill, which opened to high expectations in the summer of 2012 at 19325 Interstate 45 in the Clear Lake area. In February, Bloomin’ Brands — parent company to Outback Steakhouse, Carrabba’s, Bonefish Grill, and Fleming’s Steakhouse chains — announced it would close dozens of its underperforming restaurants.
Bloomin’ Brands announced the closure plans in an investor presentation that revealed the company’s earnings dropped $4.3 million in the fourth quarter, according to reports.
Overall profit for 2016, the company notes, also dropped to $41.7 million from $127.3 million in 2015.
Smart move: Tutoring was once a service parents sought for their children struggling in school subjects. But these days, private tutoring is part of a program to give students a competitive edge. And it’s a growing industry. Canon Doyle and James Brockway of Brockway Commercial represented a new franchisee for Huntington Learning Center in leasing a 1,500-square-foot space in the Centre at South Shore Harbour II, 2700 Marina Bay Drive in League City. Look for a May opening of Huntington Learning Center.