Prime price: Sellers are asking $10 million for the highly visible seawall parcel known as the Fort Crockett military housing complex at Seawall Boulevard and 45th Street, according to LoopNet.com.
A few years ago, such an asking price might have been ambitious considering restrictions, including the preservation and maintenance of former military housing, on the 6.4-acre parcel.
A key selling point now is that the property is no longer under historic preservation restrictions, according to the LoopNet posting, meaning the buyer could demolish the old buildings, something that would have violated deed covenants just a year ago.
For decades, the property’s deteriorated condition has angered neighbors. Until earlier this year, it was at the center of a legal battle that didn’t end well for preservationists hoping the buildings could be revitalized.
U.S. Coast Guard housing on the site is one of the few remnants of a massive military installation dating back to when coastal gun emplacements were important to national security. The installation at one time encompassed 125 acres between 45th and 49th streets that the federal government bought in 1897.
In the 1990s, the federal government declared the property surplus. In 2000, the U.S. General Services Administration, on behalf of the Coast Guard, transferred the deed to buyer Max Bowen Enterprises, but on the condition it abide by covenants calling for preservation and maintenance of the structures.
In 2011, the Texas Attorney General’s Office claimed owners of the historic property had violated deed covenants by failing to maintain and preserve the buildings, indicating an intent to demolish them without state permission.
Neither city officials nor the nonprofit Galveston Historical Foundation have authority to protect the historic structures. But the Texas Historical Commission, holder of the federal covenant, did have a say.
In January, to the chagrin of historic preservationists, the Texas Historical Commission said it wouldn’t appeal a judge’s dismissal of a lawsuit seeking to force preservation, possibly making it easier to sell.
Developers had for years considered condominiums or other uses, but balked at the high cost of renovating the buildings on the site.
A hotel, condominium and mixed-use development are listed as potential uses for the land, according to LoopNet.
On File: Dickinson soon will be home to a new firm — House of File Technology Lounge, 1103 FM 517 E.
The business, next to popular eatery Sesame House, will offer training sessions and ongoing support in using mobile technology, including all Apple, Android & Windows 8 devices. Services also include training for creating, publishing and marketing websites and mobile applications for individuals and businesses. Owner Mile File is planning a grand opening from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday.
Whatayouknow: The wait is over for Kemah-area Whataburger fans. Whataburger Restaurants plans a grand opening celebration from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at its 305 FM 518 eatery. The celebration is from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. with games and giveaways, including the famous “Whataburger for a Year” drawing. During the event, eight customer names will be drawn to win the prize — a free Whataburger each week for a year. San Antonio-based Whataburger began as a single burger stand in 1950. There are 750 restaurants across 10 states today.
Blender bragging: Raise your glass in a toast. Lucky Lounge, 8305 Stewart Road on the island, took second place in the 2014 Margarita Grand Tasting in the restaurants/bar category at the Texas Tequila and Margarita Festival at Moody Gardens over the weekend, owners Todd MacKenzie and Thomas Fiero report. Lucky Lounge was the only island business to win in the category.
Set the date: Texas City Small Business Week kicks off Aug. 4, but officials will have informational sessions at noon and 5:15 p.m. Monday to offer an overview of the many programs and events for the celebration, which is meant to promote and highlight small businesses in the city.
Both sessions on Monday will be in the Captain’s Room at Nessler Center, 2010 Fifth Ave N. in Texas City, and will give officials an idea of the number of businesses planing to participate and how many flags they need to order to promote those businesses.
Bumper crop: Texas City is soon to get a new farmers market. Where will it grow? Read more in Tuesday’s Biz Buzz.