Sign language: Fans of the Dickinson Sonic Drive-In, 4401 state Highway 3, are paying close attention to the restaurant’s negotiations with the city to keep the tall pole sign at the property. Specifically, some readers are worried the city’s prohibition on pole signs will stymie plans for the restaurant to rebuild on the site, or inspire owners to pack up the burgers and tater tots and go elsewhere.
Franchise owners did not respond to request for comment. But the city confirms the owners want to build a new restaurant to replace the existing one, which would mean the tall Sonic pole sign wouldn’t meet 2012 regulations.
“They’re in the Highway 3 overlay zone and with that there are some additional regulations we don’t normally impose on other commercial signage,” said Zach Meadows, director of community development in Dickinson.
The overlay regulations are meant to restore a downtown atmosphere, Meadows said. The regulations require new buildings to provide parking in the rear of buildings and to offer a more pedestrian feel, Meadows said. The overlay zone rules don’t allow pole or monument signs. Signage is allowed on the buildings, however, Meadows said.
Sonic Drive-In reopened quickly after Hurricane Harvey in August last year, but wants a new building, which the city encourages, Meadows said. The existing building operates under a grandfather clause.
“If they were to knock the building down, the sign has to go with it,” Meadows said.
Franchise owners can apply for variances that might allow for a monument sign or some compromise, Meadows said.
Some readers worry the sign issue might be a deal-breaker.
“This particular Sonic location has been a mainstay for my family and I’m sure for many other families over the many years it has been in business, judging by the high volume of customers that are always there,” a reader wrote to The Daily News. “It has always been great for that after-school drink, a cold slushy during our hot Texas summers or the quick bite to eat as we are racing to scouts, after-school programs or even Wednesday night church.”
Spilling the beans: City officials confirm Starbucks has submitted plans for a shop next to Mainland Bank on FM 517 in Dickinson. The exact address wasn’t immediately available, but Mainland Bank operates at 400 FM 517. The Seattle-based coffeehouse chain, known for coffee drinks and light bites, operates a store in Kroger at 3410 Interstate 45, but this would be the first stand-alone shop for Dickinson. Stay tuned.
What’s that? All that activity at the former Texas A&M University Fort Crockett campus, 5005 Ave. U, confirms previously buzzed rumors that owners plan to convert the property into a hotel.
Crews are demolishing the interior of the office building to make way for the hotel, according to a city commercial building permit application, which puts the value of the work at about $1.5 million.
But it was unclear Friday how many rooms the hotel would feature and other details were elusive. Property owner Tai Ly confirmed Friday he planned a hotel and said he would call back with more information. But Ly did not call back by deadline.
The building went on the market in 2015, the same year the Galveston Economic Development Partnership left for new downtown offices. The 59,000-square-foot building is on 3 acres. Ly acquired it last year. Stay tuned.
Ninja news: Is League City soon to be home to a 35,000-square-foot indoor park with a warrior route similar to TV show “American Ninja Warrior?”
When Urban Air Trampoline and Adventure Park in May opened a 35,000-square-foot park in Pasadena that includes a climbing wall, elevated ropes course and a “warrior route,” owner and General Manager Ryan Moon told reporters another was planned for League City sometime later this year.
A Facebook site does indeed herald plans for such a park in League City, but lists 20251 Interstate 45 as the address, which appears to be in Webster.
Navigating the automated voice system at the phone number listed for the adventure park was an obstacle course in itself. Biz Buzz was unable to reach a human being.
Urban Air operates indoor parks in The Woodlands, Humble, Pearland, Sugar Land, Katy and Hempstead. Stay tuned.
Pirates treasure: After 18 years in Jamaica Beach, Economy Liquor has made a move to a new West End island spot.
The popular shop opened Saturday in the building formerly occupied by Moody Bank, 13655 FM 3005, Suite A.
Economy Liquor’s lease was up at the Jamaica Beach site and the landlord declined to renew it, said T.J. Bath, who, with Dan Hawkins, in 2013 bought Economy Liquor stores in Jamaica Beach and at 1911 23rd St. from Bob and Evelyn McCurry.
Change isn’t easy and Economy Liquor preferred to remain at the Jamaica Beach site where it had built a strong clientele, Bath said. But Pirates Beach also boasts a residents who consume high-end wines, Bath said.
Converting a former bank building into a liquor store wasn’t too difficult, Bath said. The business partners removed some offices to make more floor space and they’ll use the vault to store some wines and cigars, Bath said. The shop, however, didn’t make use of the former bank’s drive-through feature, Bath said.
“We’re fired up,” Bath said. “We have good customer service, good selection. We’re going to be OK.”
Moving on up: The Gulf Coast branch of Houston construction firm The Trevino Group has leased 4,000 square feet in Shearn Moody Plaza, 123 25th St. in the island’s downtown. The Trevino Group, which specializes in construction, design/build and project management services, previously had offices on Broadway.
Tanya Jones of The House Company represented The Trevino Group, while Tom Schwenk of Tom’s Galveston Real Estate represented Shearn Moody Plaza.
“It is fantastic to have such a great tenant in what is an anchor building for the downtown commercial area,” Schwenk said.
Property lines: Meanwhile, CDC Texas, which provides general contractor services on the Texas Gulf Coast from the Galveston-Houston area to Rockport-Aransas Pass, has opened a Galveston office in the historic 1910 Ice & Cold Storage Building, 104 21st St., Suite 102. in the island’s downtown.
CDC Founder and CEO Joe Broussard, a Galveston native, isn’t new to area development. Broussard was instrumental in the original restoration of the Ice & Cold Storage Building, Eiband’s Luxury Condominiums and Hendley Market Lofts, among other developments.
CDC is building new homes in Evia and Road Less Traveled — both are residential developments in Galveston — and is renovating several properties in Rockport, League City and Dickinson that were severely damaged by Hurricane Harvey in August last year.
Gina Hickman is CDC’s business manager, while project managers are Chuck Glass in Aransas County, and Tony Romito in Galveston County.
The company will soon break ground on a 52-lot subdivision in Fredericksburg. M.J. Naschke is the marketing consultant for the company.
Apffel Legal earlier this year acquired the Ice & Cold Storage Building from the Buzbee Family Limited Partnership and moved its practices there.
Building buy: The Rock of Ages building in League City has a new owner, but the tenant will remain the same.
Brockway Commercial represented the former owner in the recent sale of the building at 390 state Highway 3, between Walker Street and FM 518.
The tenant, Rock of Ages Memorials, has occupied the building for more than 10 years. The property is known for its sampling of headstones on the lawn. The property buyer is a local businessman who will continue leasing to Rock of Ages.
Behind the veil: It’s hush-hush for now, but look next week for big expansion news from popular wedding venue Butler’s Courtyard, 122 Michigan Ave. in League City.