Fadden Building

Houston businessman Atul “Lucky” Chopra has acquired the Fadden Building in downtown Galveston.

STUART VILLANUEVA/The Daily News

Building buy: A Houston businessman known for redeveloping historic buildings has acquired the James Fadden Building, 2410 Strand, in the island’s downtown, with plans to open a bar.

Atul “Lucky” Chopra bought the building from Turner Construction, which never set out to own it.

The Fadden building, built in 1898, was the center of a legal dispute a few years back. In 2014, island businessman Allen Flores agreed to sell the historic building to the Port of Galveston and contractor Turner Construction to settle a lawsuit that for months halted construction of a $6 million downtown transit terminal.

Flores, who operated a restaurant and nightclub in the building, sued the port and Turner Construction in April 2013, claiming crews working on the nearby transit center had damaged its foundation and footings.

Under a settlement agreement, Turner Construction would buy the building and the port would take title, officials said.

Turner Construction had an option to keep or sell the building, according to the settlement. After four years, the port would own the building outright if Turner didn’t exercise its option.

Crews in 2015 stabilized the building, which is on the westernmost side of the historic Strand district. The Fadden building sits on 5,160 square feet of land and consists of two floors totaling 9,890 square feet of interior space.

Noted 19th-century island architect Nicholas Clayton designed the building in 1898 for James Fadden’s wholesale wine, liquor and cigar business.

Chopra, through his company Landmark Houston Hospitality Group, has acquired several historic Houston buildings and converted them to bars and restaurants, according to reports.

The Fadden building was co-listed by Houston broker Randal Moudry and Galveston broker Tom Schwenk of The House Company. Chopra will open a bar in the building, Schwenk said. Stay tuned.

Total shock: The island’s fitness scene was abuzz last week with news that Total Fitness, 4910 Seawall Blvd., would close Nov. 17. Total Fitness is the largest gym on the island.

“After unsuccessfully working several options to remain operational, our only choice has been to conclude our time at this location,” owners Peter and Le Bergin said in a letter to members.

Peter Bergin, owner of the Urban Health and Fitness, 2009 Postoffice St., in the island’s downtown, bought Total Fitness in 2010.

Urban Health and Fitness is still going strong and the Bergins are reworking Total Fitness membership fees to reflect the closure this month. They’re also working with Total members who would like to move to Urban. Le Bergin will continue the outdoor Island Boot Camp and other classes.

Mystery solved? Remember last month’s buzz that a firm by the name of BMC Capital had arranged a $13.7 million loan for the acquisition of a 238-unit multifamily property in Galveston, but the property and the buyer were a mystery. Looks like the mystery is solved. Commercial real estate publication rebusiness online.com is reporting Gulf Coast Kington Properties, an affiliate of San Angelo-based multifamily investment firm Kington Properties, has acquired the 238-unit Driftwood Apartments, 7019 Lasker Drive, in Galveston.

Chip Nash, Greg Austin and Bob Heard of JLL, an investment management firm, brokered the transaction, according to rebusinessonline.com. Driftwood Apartments is a garden-style complex of 15 buildings offering one- and two-bedroom units.

Hot tamales: For years, people asked members of the island’s Moreno family when they would again serve the tamales and barbecue that were once so popular at Pennie’s Meat Market in Galveston. Islanders have been waiting for years for the answer. But on Saturday, that wait was over when the Moreno family served up the official opening of Pennie’s Tex-Mex Take Out, 1713 37th St.

Pennie’s has a long history on 37th Street. From 1978 to 2009, Isis Moreno’s parents, Pennie and Connie Ochoa, operated it as Pennie’s Meat Market. Before that, it was a butcher shop by the name of Anderson’s.

Pennie’s closed in 2009. Hurricane Ike, which struck in 2008, didn’t damage the business too badly, Isis Moreno said. But a post-storm dip in business, along with her mother’s advancing age, made it difficult to keep the venture going, she said. Pennie’s serves Tex-Mex and barbecue through takeout.

Sweet celebration: Has it been 10 years? Sugar Bean Coffee & Cream, a coffee shop in West End neighborhood Evia is marking a decade. Sugar Bean, 11 Evia Main, opened in 2007.

“Sugar Bean has been the hub of life in Evia and on the West End,” owner Jocelyn Sullivan said. “We’ve toasted weddings, welcomed new babies, cherished anniversaries and hosted annual markets, and town hall meetings after Hurricane Ike, and seen children grow from elementary school to college.” Sugar Bean marked the occasion Friday with drinks, snacks and live music by Kevin Anthony.

Bank notes: Hurricane Harvey recovery continues for many businesses operating on the mainland. BBVA Compass has opened a temporary building at its Dickinson site, 3545 Interstate 45, as it works to repair damaged caused by 2 1/2 feet of floodwater in its permanent bank building during the late August storm, reports Guillermo Martinez, sales productivity executive for BBVA Compass.

BBVA Compass also has reopened its permanent branch in Friendswood, 113 N. Friendswood Drive. That branch, which is open as it undergoes some repairs, also had been flooded during Harvey.

Where there’s smoke: As promised, Houston-based Pappas Restaurants has opened Delta Blues Smokehouse, a high-end barbecue restaurant that represents a new concept for the company.

The restaurant, 19901 I-45, opened last week, serving what it calls elevated barbecue — brisket from Creekstone Farms and USDA Prime rib-eye — in a table-service setting complete with wine, beer and cocktails.

Described as “Southern classic meets sophisticated barbecue,” the menu will feature items such as the jumbo lump crab and BBQ Brisket Cake, Mississippi catfish served blackened with chile lime butter and Smoked Berkshire Pork Belly. There are also Southern favorites such as fried green tomatoes and pimento cheese and barbecue standards such as beef ribs and smoked chicken.

The company is rolling out the new Webster restaurant as it celebrates the 50th anniversary of Pappas Bar-B-Q. The company said it wasn’t eschewing its established concept, but offering a “refined alternative to keep pace with a changing barbecue landscape.”

“There are certainly a growing number of barbecue restaurants in the region, and while we’ve been highly successful with Pappas Bar-B-Q and our other concepts, much of that success is due to our willingness to adapt and change,” said Christina Pappas, director of marketing for the family owned company. “Delta Blues marries a lot of what we do best — from exceptional service to innovative recipes — in one brand-new restaurant.”

The new restaurant will offer an extensive drink menu with a focus on beer, American whiskey and cocktails.

Pappas Restaurants operates more than 90 locations across eight states. Concepts include Pappas Bar-B-Q, Pappadeaux Seafood Kitchen, Pappasito’s Cantina, Pappas Bros. Steakhouse, Pappas Seafood House, Pappas Burger and Yia Yia Mary’s Mediterranean Kitchen.

Laura Elder: 409-683-5248; laura.elder@galvnews.com

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