Check-in time: Crews are busy converting a seawall hotel into a DoubleTree by Hilton property, with plans to have 40 of the 97 rooms complete by Lone Star Rally weekend, which is Nov. 6-9 and draws many thousands of motorcycle enthusiasts to the island. Work will begin on the remaining 57 rooms, lobby, poolside restaurant and other public spaces the day after the rally ends.
The project is expected to be complete by early 2015, owner Dennis Byrd said. Byrd last year acquired the property, then a Holiday Inn SunSpree Resort, from developer Mark Wyant, who opened the hotel in 2005. Byrd in May renovated, renamed and replaced the hotel’s Captain Jack’s bar with the opening of Longboard, a swim-up bar serving mojitos, fruit-infused drinks and other cocktails. Longboard marked Bryd’s sixth seawall concept. His other five concepts — restaurant The Spot, Tiki Bar, Squeeze Ritas & Tequilas, RumShack and SideYard — all are in one complex at 3204 Seawall Blvd.
Room boom: Meanwhile, another hotel/motel is planned for the island. A developer plans to invest as much as $3.5 million to build a 50-room property at 6227 Interstate 45, just off the freeway and just west of 61st Street. The developer’s name wasn’t immediately available. The applicant on behalf of the developer is Houston-based Tipps Architecture, of which Jerry Tipps is president. Tipps, in correspondence with the city, said his client wants to build a three-story hotel on a concrete podium over a parking field that includes the area under the podium. The developer is an experienced hotel operator with another island property, Tipps said. Stay tuned.
Greek tragedy? Plans by island restaurateurs and brothers Larry and Tikie Kriticos to open a restaurant in League City are still on, but not at the site they initially intended. The brothers had planned to build an Olympia Grill, known for authentic Greek seafood and other fare, next to Jimmy Changas, a Tex-Mex eatery at 2504 I-45. But the size of the property would only yield about 32 parking spaces after the build out of the 150-seat restaurant, Kriticos said.
“My kitchen staff and management would take up all the parking spaces,” Larry Kriticos said. City officials, who are working to create a dining and entertainment destination in the area, were helpful in trying to make the development happen, Kriticos said. But the parking issue couldn’t be overcome, he said.
But all isn’t lost. Another restaurant is considering the site, Owen Rock, League City’s economic development manager, said. Rock, however, declined to divulge details. Meanwhile, the Kriticos brothers, who own and operate Olympia Grill at 4908 Seawall Blvd. and Olympia Grill at Pier 21 on the island, are still searching for a League City site.
“That’s a dynamic area,” he said. Want to talk about it? Visit Buzz Blog, galvnews.com.
Landlines: In other League City land dealings that could increase dining options, real estate agency Re/Max Space Center has entered the 90-day closing period to buy the 3.7 acres on the east side of the entrance to the Tuscan Lakes division on League City Parkway, where it will build new offices on the second floor and lease space to retail tenants on the first floor, Realtor Rick Wade confirms.
The property also would include two pad sites for restaurants and a courtyard between the eateries. The development would be done in Tuscan style. Re/Max Space Center has League City offices at 3032 Marina Bay Drive and on Clear Lake City Boulevard. The firm intends to keep those open.
Open house: Managers of The Rio at Mainland Center, a 134-bed skilled nursing facility in Texas City, will have an open house from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. today. The facility, 1011 Mainland Center Drive, (next to Mainland Medical Center) offers post-hospital recovery, skilled nursing and long-term care.
Sweet talk: After months of anticipation, the The Cupcake Cowgirls has opened in Galveston’s downtown and islanders wasted no time offering a warm welcome to the shop, reports owner Tina Davis.
Although The Cupcake Cowgirls planned to open softly, word-of-mouth generated strong crowds at the shop, 2108 Church St., Davis said.
The franchise is one of the most popular cupcake concepts in the Houston area.
Rebecca Clanton and baking partner Nicole Costa were crowned the Food Network’s “Cupcake Wars” champions in 2012.
Not long after that victory, Clanton opened The Cupcake Cowgirls in Spring and began franchising.
Among the many popular cupcake flavors are Maple Bacon, Carrot Cake and Grandma Love. But islanders have gravitated toward the Vanilla Salted Caramel flavor, which was a “Cupcake Wars” winner. The Turtle, made of chocolate cake, chocolate ganache, toasted pecans, homemade caramel and caramel Swiss buttercream, also is popular at the downtown shop.
Along with baked goods, The Cupcake Cowgirls will offer space for birthday parties, meetings and other gatherings. The Cupcake Cowgirls is open every day except Monday.
Dollar holler: Look next week for news about big changes at Family Dollar, 2207 Broadway.
Laura Elder is a reporter for The Daily News. Biz Buzz appears Thursdays. Email your tips and suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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