Hammer time: In a sign of growth at Texas A&M University at Galveston, crews have begun work on the $45 million Maritime Cadet Residence Hall.

The 612-bed residential facility on Pelican Island will be the product of a partnership between the university and El Paso-based Hunt Cos. It’s the first project Hunt and the university have partnered to develop.

Hunt is the master developer of the building and will work with Moss & Associates, a Hunt-affiliated company, which will be the construction contractor. Hunt in June merged its construction operations into Moss, a large Florida construction company.

In line with a growing movement in higher education, the university earlier this year said it would partner with a private group to finance and build the dormitory.

Under terms of a public-private partnership, an affiliate of Alabama-based nonprofit Collegiate Housing Foundation would secure $55 million in tax-exempt Student Housing Revenue Bonds to build the facility, and the university would manage it. The bonds will be repaid from revenue generated by rent at the dormitory, rather than from a tax.

The cadet hall will feature two residential wings connected by a central commons with adjacent features including an illuminated formation court.

Amenities include classrooms, study lounges, social places, staff and cadet offices, a reception area, common laundry areas, a convenience shop and storage areas.

Hunt has developed or built more than 70,000 military homes across the nation. But the Pelican Island project marks the first time it has been hired to design and develop a project for a higher education client.

Construction is expected to be complete by the fall of next year.

What’s that?: That land clearing on Interstate 45 North in front of Academy Sports + Outdoors in Webster is a sign that crews are preparing to tee off on construction of a 65,000-square-foot TopGolf.

TopGolf, which builds large entertainment complexes in which players hit microchipped golf balls at targets on an outfield, announced earlier this year it planned a Webster site. The high-tech balls instantly score each shot’s accuracy and distance.

TopGolf earlier this year opened its second Houston-area location in Spring. Typical TopGolf venues offer full-service bars/restaurants, event space, 102 hitting bays, large flat-screen TVs at each bay and a rooftop terrace with fire pit and cabanas.

Restaurant reminder: Webster officials are worried that nearby construction work might block signage and keep people from knowing that the 12,000-square-foot Luby’s/Fuddruckers at Baybrook Shopping Center is opening today.

Look for a 10:30 a.m. ribbon-cutting ceremony and grand-opening festivities at the eatery on the east side of Interstate 45 between Bay Area Boulevard and Medical Center Boulevard in Webster.

Houston-based Luby’s acquired Fuddruckers in 2010. The company in 2011 experimented with the combo concept at an existing Houston location, but built the first side-by-side eateries last year in Pearland.

Breaking the ice: After a soft opening last month, America’s Ice House in Texas City is planning grand-opening festivities beginning Friday.

The establishment, 622 Sixth St., is planning a free concert Saturday, among other celebratory events. Scott Arnold is the owner of America’s Ice House, a modular steel structure built from shipping containers that features large, steel masts and outriggers with fabric canopies and sails that form an open pavilion.

The ice house offers an outdoor band stand, karaoke, a food truck area, barbecue pits, outdoor games and more.

Meanwhile, look for the concept to multiply. Arnold Interests, which owns America’s Ice House, has acquired a site for a second location and plans more in the Houston/Galveston Bay area. Stay tuned.

Laura Elder is a reporter for The Daily News. Biz Buzz appears Tuesdays and Thursdays. Email your tips and suggestions to laura.elder@galvnews.com.

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