True or false? Did a local credit union and a school district this week engage in a bidding war over a highly coveted building in Webster? It’s true. While “war” might be a strong word, the Clear Creek Independent School District prevailed in a competitive bid Tuesday against AMOCO Federal Credit Union to buy the 30,750-square-foot ITT Technical Institute building left vacant last year.
The school district wants the building, 1001 Magnolia St., to replace its Clear Path Alternative School, 400 S. Kansas Ave. in League City. The Clear Path building is aging and in need of significant renovation, officials have said.
AMOCO wanted the building to accommodate its fast-growing electronics services division. Had it won the bid, AMOCO would have kept its offices at 2300 Texas Ave. in Texas City, where it’s based, but would have moved its employees and electronic banking services to the ITT building.
Technical difficulties: In what came as a shock to hundreds of area students, the for-profit college chain ITT Technical Institute in September said it would shut down all 130 of its U.S. campuses, saying it couldn’t survive sanctions by the U.S. Department of Education. Soon after the closures, ITT Educational Services began liquidation proceedings in an Indianapolis bankruptcy court. ITT said it was forced to close its doors after the education department demanded a steep increase in the security the company would have to post to guarantee federal student aid, according to news agency Bloomberg.
A&G Realty Partners is managing the sale of the ITT properties. AMOCO Federal Credit Union in February placed the first bid on the property for $3.1 million, according to documents. In March, Clear Creek ISD placed a bid on the property for $3.25 million. Those amounts made the school district and credit union qualified bidders.
On Tuesday, AMOCO and CCISD participated in an auction in which the school district prevailed with a $4.825 million bid — $3.775 million for the building and land and $50,000 for the furniture. The deal won’t be finalized until the bankruptcy court rules, which was expected today.
Its location, age — it was built in 2006 — and ample parking made the ITT building attractive. Classrooms and office space are pretty much ready for move-in.
School district officials said the acquisition of the ITT building represented a $10 million savings compared with the amount of money required to completely renovate Clear Path Alternative School. In buying the ITT property, the district saved $10 million and is getting a 10-year-old building. Its current Clear Path building is 79 years old.
Meanwhile, AMOCO will consider other properties to house its electronics services division, Shawn Bailey, president and CEO of the credit union said. Bailey took Clear Creek ISD’s win in stride.
“I’m glad it was CCISD and not one of my competitors, but now I think it is going to serve the school district and the community well,” Bailey said.
Branching out: Still, AMOCO Federal Credit Union has something to celebrate this week. On Monday, AMOCO marked its ninth branch opening in the past 10 years. When Bailey became president in 2004, AMOCO had a single location. Since then, the credit union has grown from serving 51,000 members to more than 80,000 members; assets have doubled to $825 million from $410 million.
In 1937, five employees of what then was Pan American Refining Corp. of Texas City organized and chartered the Pan Am Employees Federal Credit Union, which eventually became AMOCO.
What’s that? In other credit union news, that building rising in front of Sam’s Club, 6614 Interstate 45 in La Marque, is for a Coastal Community Credit Union.
On the burner: When it comes to attracting restaurants, League City is sizzling. Wichita, Kan.-based Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers is opening at the Bay Colony Town Center, 2955 S. Interstate 45. Freddy’s will build next to freshly opened Jason’s Deli, League City officials confirm.
Freddy’s is famous for its lean ground beef steakburgers, Vienna beef hot dogs, specially seasoned shoestring fries and custard desserts. The chain was co-founded in 2002 by brothers Bill and Randy Simon, and their friend and business partner, Scott Redler. They named the restaurant after Bill and Randy’s father, World War II veteran Freddy Simon. No word on an opening date. Stay tuned.
Big Adventure: Several news outlets are reporting that construction will soon go “vertical” at the long-awaited theme park Adventure Pointe on 25 acres fronting Interstate 45, south of Tanger Outlets in Texas City.
Area residents have been waiting for the theme park ever since Dr. Harvey Slusky in March 2013 announced plans for the venture. While construction began last year, most of the work has been for infrastructure.
The park’s main historical reference will be a collection of trains that belonged to Slusky’s father, Louis Slusky, who operated Playland Park in Houston from the late 1940s to 1969, and in Galveston from the late 1960s to the early 1970s.
Texas City has approved construction work for Adventure Pointe’s Main Street building, which serves as the entrance to the park, as well as the pirate ship building, the Houston Business Journal reports. Read more about it in next week’s Biz Buzz.
By the slice: A fast-growing pizza and pub chain is planning a Friendswood site. Center Court Pizza & Brew is the first tenant signing into the 19,000-square-foot retail center that’s part of Friendswood Fountains Commercial Park, 2111 W. Parkwood Ave.
Pearland-based Center Court Pizza & Brew is a popular sports bar concept known for pizza, sandwiches, pastas, salads, wings and more. Center Court leased 3,540 square feet at Friendswood Fountains. The chain, which in 2013 opened a League City location, also stocks a strong selection of beers.
Restaurant row? Look for more eateries to line up at Friendswood Fountains, where another restaurant lease is pending.
“The restaurants will have patios facing the 7-acre pond, so it will be a fun destination for outdoor dining,” said Kelly Hutchinson, a broker with Commercial Houston Real Estate Advisors.
The pond will feature lighted fountains.
Construction of the Friendswood Fountains retail center is expected to be complete by April’s end.
Meanwhile, the Friendswood Fountains Commercial Park has land parcels for sale and one is under contract to a Mexican cuisine concept. A car wash also plans to open at the commercial park, a master planned development on the southeast corner of West Parkwood Avenue and San Joaquin Parkway. Stay tuned.
Buzz bits: Webster’s retail and commercial real estate is bustling. Here’s a fast look at what’s happening:
• Casual dining chain El Pollo Loco, which specializes in chicken, has opened at 481 W. Bay Area Blvd.
• Children’s apparel chain OshKosh B’gosh has opened at 1259 W. Bay Area Blvd. at the Baybrook Square Shopping Center, next to Carter’s Kids at the center.
• NAPA Auto Parts opened in March at East NASA Parkway in the NASA One Business Center.
• Glacier Pool Supplies & Spas opened at 18111 Egret Bay Blvd. in the Marina Gate Shopping Center. Glacier moved from League City.