Concrete complex: That luxury apartment complex that has been underway for several years on the eastern shore of English Bayou is about to get tenants.

Developer Miguel Prida last week secured a certificate of occupancy for the 75-unit project, and leasing has commenced at The Waterfront, 1400 Bayou Shore Drive. Demand for luxury apartments apparently is high on the island. Just days after posting a “now leasing” sign on the building, about a dozen people had already signed leases, Prida said.

The Waterfront has been years in the making. Prida, who owns Prida Construction, bought the property in 2013. But building an all-concrete structure takes time, he said. The Waterfront is unusual in that it features 8-1/2-inch-thick walls built with autoclaved aerated concrete. The development is also unusual in that Prida is using all Galveston labor and local contractors for plumbing and other work.

The first two buildings, comprising 57 units, are ready for tenants to move in, while the third is underway.

Bottom dollar: If you had bet your bottom dollar a dollar store concept would never be built on the West End among high-dollar beach and bay houses and without the protection of the seawall, you would have been wrong. A rumor circulating back in August about a dollar concept planning a West End store turned out to be true.

City officials issued a permit Feb. 28 for a Dollar General at 14323 FM 3005. Dollar General, a bargain retail chain selling household goods, groceries, beauty products and more, already has an island site at 2415 69th St., competing with other such concepts in the city. No word on an opening date. Stay tuned.

What’s in a name? More details have emerged about the new island coffee shop and juicery this column buzzed about in February.

Candi Storey is behind Fika Java & Juicery, 613 University Blvd. on the East End.

Fika (pronounced fee-ka) refers to the Swedish custom of social breaks during which people gather for coffee or tea and a few nibbles. The name and the shop’s décor is a tribute to Storey’s Swedish grandmother, who immigrated to New York. A graffiti wall at the shop is made to look like a New York subway.

Storey moved to Galveston in 2010 and was the first employee of Oasis Juice Bar & Market, 409 25th St. in the island’s downtown. Working there, she grew to love juices and smoothies, she said. Before moving to the island, Storey lived in New Orleans, where she frequented the little coffee shops that seemed to be on every corner.

“I’m a big coffee nerd,” she said. Storey wanted her shop to serve the high quality coffee she had grown to appreciate. She searched around and found Catalina Coffee in Houston, which roasts its own beans. She serves Catalina coffee at Fika.

“Hands down, it’s the best I’ve ever had,” she said. Along with the made-to-order smoothies and fresh-pressed juices, Fika also specializes in pizza, and everything, including the dough, is made fresh daily, she said.

A good spell: Kemah’s Lighthouse District is soon to be home to a purveyor of adult beverages. All that activity at 511 Bradford Ave. is for Voodoo Hut, which will have two venues — indoor and outdoor under the palapa, owner Harry White said. The bar and palapa will encompass about 3,200 square feet.

The interior of Voodoo Hut, with a “No hurries, no worries,” slogan, is being built with wood reclaimed from Indonesian fishing boats. There’ll be live music and many specialty drinks, including the frozen variety, White said.

“Voodoo” is often misunderstood, conjuring images of dark spells, White said. The Voodoo Hut will be light and relaxed.

“It’s not dark voodoo,” White said. “It’s about happiness, wellness and wealth; very rarely are there evil spells cast in voodoo. People misinterpret voodoo to be about dark and hate. Our voodoo is more of the Caribbean.”

Eventually, Voodoo Hut will serve food — White owns some property next to it — and when it does, it will be Caribbean-inspired cuisine, he said. Redfield Custom Building, of which Robert Redfield is the principal, is the contractor; White’s company, Affordable Shade Patio Covers also is a contractor on the project.

Look for a mid- to late-April opening of Voodoo Hut.

Coming soon: Retail and commercial activity is booming in Webster and Friendswood. Read more about it in next week’s Biz Buzz.

Reach reporter Laura Elder at 409-683-5248 or

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