Coconut telegraph: Some salt-rimmed speculation is making the rounds that developers are planning a Margaritaville Resort for Galveston. For the uninitiated, Margaritaville Resorts are Jimmy Buffett-themed properties that promote a laid-back, coastal kind of vibe.

The rumors aren’t too far-fetched. Earlier this month, officials with the development branch of Margaritaville announced plans for the first Texas Margaritaville on a property in Conroe — the La Torretta Lake Resort & Spa, which will undergo major renovations. The Conroe resort will include a hotel, dining concepts, a golf course, spa and more.

Margaritaville is named for Buffett’s best-known song about a frozen concoction that helps him hang on.

Those in the know say a Margaritaville Resort in Galveston would be built from the ground up rather than a renovation of an existing property. But details were like that lost shaker of salt.

Buffett, who Forbes in 2017 reported had a net worth of $550 million, has tapped into a state of mind that has helped him grow a Margaritaville real estate empire that includes more than a dozen destination resorts — some open, some underway — casinos and restaurants, including 5 O’Clock Somewhere and LandShark Bar & Grill. Most recently, Buffett has ventured into developing retirement communities. Stay tuned.

Percolating: The strip along Market Street west of 25th Street in Galveston’s downtown continues to attract investment.

Casey Martin, owner of Red Light Coffee Roasters, plans a summer opening of West Market Coffee House, 2728 Market St. The shop will sell coffee beans and serve caffeinated beverages.

The Red Light Coffee Roasters name is a nod to the building’s history. It long ago was a house of prostitution.

West Market, also known as WeMa, has in recent years attracted such venues as Gypsy Joynt, Daiquiri Time Out and Soul 2 Soul Café, joining the already established and popular Maceo Spice and Import Co. Stay tuned.

Sassy stuff: Husband-and-wife team James and Ra’Keisha Owens this weekend debuted new building space, 3709 Fatta Drive in Dickinson, for their three ventures: retail shop Sassy Class Custom Designed Gifts and Apparel; event planning business Before the Cake Events and a studio for Ra’Keisha’s popular podcast, The Libra Lounge with Keisha, known for uncensored talk, celebrity gossip and guests and pop culture.

The Owens celebrated a grand opening of the new space Saturday.

Hotel do-tell: The developer of a planned five-story, 120-room hotel in Galveston received a fill permit this week from the city.

Willis Gandhi secured the permit for the Residence Inn by Marriott at 41st Street and Avenue U.

The hotel will incorporate the brand’s more modern design, island architect Michael Gaertner said. Gaertner is the architect for the project that marks Gandhi’s sixth island hotel. Gandhi also owns Holiday Inn Express, Best Western, Travel Lodge and Days Inn franchises on the island.

Mailbag: An inquiring reader emailed: “Do you know what is going on next to TopGolf? We had been hearing of an outdoor music venue, but the buildings going up don’t reflect that.”

Answer: Construction at 21404 Interstate 45 in Webster, next to TopGolf, will yield a 355,000-square-foot American Furniture Warehouse along the east side of I-45, just south of the NASA Bypass. The new facility is scheduled to open in late August.

In late 2017, this column buzzed Colorado-based American Furniture Warehouse planned to buy about 23 acres for a retail showroom, distribution center and warehouse. When it opens for business, it will be with about 350 full-time employees, the Bay Area Houston Economic Partnership has said. The investment value, which includes land, development and construction costs, is about $50 million, officials have reported.

American Furniture Warehouse, Academy Sports + Outdoors and TopGolf are among the retail anchors in the southeast quadrant for Webster’s Destination Development, which eventually will include retail, dining, entertainment and hospitality operations, said Betsy Giusto, economic development director for the city.

Crews have cleared, filled, and graded for future development at the property.

Initially, there were discussions about an amphitheater, but those were just part of many old conceptual plans, Giusto said.

“As with all major projects, Webster’s Destination Development continuously evolves and is tenant-driven,” Giusto said. “Plans are underway to attract a number of phenomenal retail, dining, entertainment and hospitality venues.” Stay tuned.

Drive-in debut: The long-awaited Checkers & Rally’s restaurant in Webster plans a May 7 opening on the corner of NASA Parkway and Sarah Deel Drive. Franchisee Humza Fareed owns the Webster restaurant, which marks the 23rd Checkers & Rally’s in the Houston market.

The Tampa, Florida-based chain is bullish on the Houston area market, with 13 more openings in the pipeline this years. Officials with the chain calculate there’s room for more than 190 restaurants in the market. Checkers & Rally’s is known for such fare as burgers, hot dogs, wings and more.

Laura Elder: 409-683-5248;

(9) comments

Byron Barksdale

Margaritavilles' lodging is often managed timeshares wherein an owner buys the unit for a hundred thousand dollars or more, then the owner can use the unit 6 or so weeks a year. It will be exciting to see how the deal is structured if one is built in Galveston. Thank you for the scoop.

Bailey Jones

I guess I'm not hip enough to know what WeMa is, but I do love being able to get great food on West Market without the traffic and parking issues of downtown.

Steve Fouga

How is "WeMa" pronounced?

Tim Thompson

"Weh Mah," stands for West Market, meaning Market west of 25th St. Like EaDo in Houston, East of Downtown.

Bobby Pope

I’ll be amazed if it makes thru all the Galveston red tape. Seems like if your BOI you are screwed. What ever happened to the hotel next to the Spot?

douglas oliver

It's under construction.

Nick Einecke

The hotel Holiday Inn build is in full swing.

Jim Forsythe


John long

I would rather had seen an amphitheater in Webster, to compete with the Woods Pavillion than yet ANOTHER furniture store 🤔

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