Jaw-dropper: Notice that green fence around the building formerly occupied by Domino’s Pizza, 2424 Seawall Blvd., next to Chick-fil-A on the island? Crews will soon demolish the building to make way for a Landry’s Inc. amusement attraction called Shark Attack The Mysterious Underworld 5D. There’ll be two attractions in the building, reports Keith Beitler, senior vice president and chief operating officer of Specialty Restaurants Division, Kemah Boardwalk and International Franchising for Houston-based Landry’s.
The most striking is a scene in which visitors watch as a massive, angry shark attempts to break through what appears to be aquarium glass. The floor moves and water splashes as the shark thrashes and gets more agitated. Matrix Technology is the designer and creator of the attraction meant to make visitors feel very much a part of the frightening scene.
The second attraction — The Mysterious Underworld — includes a simulated ride in a mine car. Remarkably, both attractions will be housed in roughly 1,500 square feet. The building’s exterior will include a 12-foot opening of a shark’s mouth.
Landry’s, led by island-born billionaire Tilman Fertitta, has invested heavily in Galveston and Kemah, developing The San Luis Resort complex, the Historic Galveston Island Pleasure Pier and Kemah Boardwalk, among others.
This is the first attraction Landry’s has opened since 2012, when it debuted the Pleasure Pier.
Restaurant refresher: Some readers are still wondering what that cinder block building is underway at 21st Street and Broadway on the island. As previously buzzed, it’s for a Domino’s Pizza.
Savory speculation: A tasty rumor is simmering that owners of Riondo’s Ristorante, 2328 Strand in the island’s downtown, are planning a new concept, this time for the East End. Read more about it next week.
Inn or out? In January, owners closed Mariner Inn, 1602 Seawall Blvd., as they prepared to demolish the inn and add a 59-room property in its place. But looks like there might be a change of plans.
Owner Jalaram Enterprises is evaluating whether to remodel or tear down the property and start anew. And Jalaram Enterprise is leaning toward the former, the development’s architect, Michael Gaertner, said. Owners are considering moving the office and pool and a “down-to-the-bare structure makeover with new electrical and plumbing.” But principals of Jaralam Enterprises haven’t finalized a plan, Gaertner said.
Jalaram Enterprises two years ago confirmed plans to build a new hotel to replace the old one. But issues over parking slowed the development. Fitting that many rooms on the property, while meeting setback and open space requirements, was an issue. The city at the time required one parking space per hotel room. But newer zoning rules allow three-quarters of a parking space per room, which resolved some issues. Stay tuned.
The dirt: All that dirt turning at the former Fort Crockett military housing complex is causing quite a stir. Details were scarce, but it’s possible the pre-construction work is for Hospitality Health ER, which late last year acquired 1.9 acres at the Fort Crockett site with plans to build a 24/7 emergency room. Officials with Hospitality ER did not return calls.
The Texas-based company in November said it had planned to begin work in January.
About two years ago, Juan-Hijo and Jeff Bowen had the entire 6.4 acres of Fort Crockett land for sale with the asking price of $10 million. But the Hospitality Health ER transaction signaled a willingness to sell the property in parcels.
Relax already: Look for an early June opening of Relax Life Wear, 2418 Strand, in the Galveston Transit Center in the island’s downtown. Relax Life Wear is a lifestyle concept store offering comfortable walking sandals, retro lifestyle shoes, island casual wear, cruise wear, vacation wear, swimwear, accessories and more.
Kim Bachmeier and Steve Whitcher are behind Relax Life Wear. The couple in 2009 opened the popular downtown athletic shoe and accessories shop FitTriRun, 518 23rd St. That shop will remain open. Relax Life Wear will be an extension of FitTriRun, Bachmeier said. Look soon for more opening date details.
In the boardroom: Men want good hair days, too. In fact, male grooming habits are fueling the rapid success of such businesses as Boardroom Salon for Men, which plans a May 19 opening at Baybrook Mall, Interstate 45 and Bay Area Boulevard, in Houston.
Boardroom bills itself as a comfortable, masculine, 1920s country club-inspired salon. The salons feature dark wood paneling, lounges with oversized chairs, and a pool table. The company, founded by Bruce Schultz, offers hair, shave and spa services with complimentary beverages. The company has grown to 25 locations throughout Texas, Tennessee, Oklahoma and Georgia.