Building buy: A long-time Galveston facility, founded by billionaire and philanthropist Robert L. Moody Sr., has acquired a 43,000-square-foot building in Nassau Bay with plans to move.

The Transitional Learning Center, which specializes in post-acute brain injury care, plans extensive renovation of the Nassau Bay building, 1275 Space Park Drive, where it will eventually move its corporate office, residential program and about 100 employees from its island facility.

When that occurs, in about a year, the 48,000-square-foot building at 1528 Postoffice St., which has housed the Transitional Learning Center since 1982, will go on the market. The Postoffice Street building long ago was home to Dominican High School and was housing for nuns.

But TideWay, a program of the Transitional Learning Center at 6444 Central City Blvd. on the island, will continue to operate in Galveston, said Steve Takacs, president and CEO of the nonprofit organization.

On Postoffice Street, the Transitional Learning Center, a neurorehabilitation center, offers residential inpatient and day programs. Patients of that center tend to stay for 30- to 60-day stretches.

Patients in need of long-term care call TideWay home and tend to stay for years, said Nicole McAllister, marketing coordinator for the Transitional Learning Center.

The Nassau Bay facility would ease the commute and offer more access for patients and families, Takacs said.

Moody, whose family made fortunes in cotton, banking, railroads, insurance and development, founded the Transitional Learning Center in 1982 after his son, Russell, was badly injured in an auto accident. Moody recognized the need for brain injury rehabilitation facilities during his son’s recovery, according to the organization. The Moody family underwrites massive philanthropic organizations including the Moody Foundation, which operates the island entertainment complex Moody Gardens.

The Transitional Learning Center has two facilities in Galveston and two in Lubbock.

Keener observation: Buyers aren’t talking, but managers of the 272-unit apartment complex The Breakers in Texas City say a new owner and management will take over effective Tuesday.

An employee with Greystar Real Estate Partners, which acquired the 8801 Monticello Drive complex about six years ago, confirmed Keener Investments had acquired the property and would take over Tuesday. Keener Investments CEO Stephen A. Smith did not return a phone call.

Houston-based Keener Investments bills itself as fully integrated real estate investment company.

“Keener’s strategy involves targeting properties that offer a strong balance of current cash flow and future appreciation,” according to the company. Stay tuned.

McMakeover: Big changes are in store for two island McDonald’s restaurants.

First, the McDonald’s at 5223 Broadway is undergoing interior remodeling and upgrades that include the installation of self-serve kiosks, franchise owner Robert Flores said. The restaurant’s drive-through service will continue to operate throughout the renovations, which will take about three more weeks, said Flores, who owns 16 area McDonald’s.

McDonald’s restaurants in League City and Bacliff already feature the self-serve kiosks, Flores said. And eventually, all Flores’ restaurants will, he said.

With the kiosks, McDonald’s patrons can customize their orders and ask for table service.

McDonald’s corporate leaders and Flores say the kiosks won’t replace employees or result in job losses because counter-service, food preparation and restaurant cleaning all still are necessary.

But the kiosks do boost sales because diners tend to dwell more at the machines, McDonald’s CEO Steve Easterbrook told bigthink.com earlier this year.

“What we’re finding is when people dwell more, they select more,” Easterbrook told the publication. “So, there’s a little bit of an average check boost.”

And the kiosks give diners who don’t want to stand in line more options, Flores said.

Unhappy meal: Meanwhile, island Walmart patrons and employees soon won’t be able to order their Big Macs and fries while taking a shopping break.

Walmart is exercising its option to take back the McDonald’s space to sell its own products, Flores said.

The McDonald’s opened in Walmart, 6702 Seawall Blvd., in about 1995 and Flores bought the franchise rights in the market in 1999. The lease agreement always has stipulated Walmart had the option, but it caught Flores a bit by surprise. Flores doesn’t want to close the successful restaurant. And if he had his way, he’d expand in Walmart, where more than 25 percent of sales comes from store employees, he said.

“It’s convenient for them; they don’t have to walk somewhere for lunch,” Flores said of the employees.

Flores didn’t have a precise date for the closure and hopes Walmart officials will reconsider, he said.

The Walmart closure will leave Flores with three restaurants on the island. Stay tuned.

Beauty buzz: Texas City residents are about to get prettier. Two young entrepreneurs plan to open Blush & Beauty at 1828 25th Ave. N. The salon will offer such services as cut, color, hair extension installations, braiding, makeup and more.

Keyara Germany, 28, and Summer Harris, 20, who are behind Blush & Beauty, plan a soft opening in two weeks and a Nov. 30 grand opening, Germany said.

Germany’s mother insisted she get a degree, so she did — in finance. Then, Germany, to her mother’s surprise, announced she would attend hair school. Germany, who already is known locally as a makeup artist, was inspired by her mother, who has been a hair stylist for 30 years, she said.

“My mom said I had to get a degree, so I went ahead and got it in finance and said, ‘Now what?’”

Harris earned a cosmetology license in high school more than three years ago, she said.

“I’ve always wanted to go into business since I was younger,” Harris said. “I was inspired when my godmom let me do her hair for work since I was 10 years old. She would always compliment me.”

Laura Elder: 409-683-5248; laura.elder@galvnews.com

Managing Editor

(7) comments

Ron Shelby

This follows an obvious Moody Family trend of moving its interest off the island to places such as its American National facilities up in League City. Just waiting for the ANAT building to go up for sale.

Nick Saum

The problem is...they will end up with an albatross, unless its torn down (the ANICO bldg). No one will buy it, they'll still be liable for the taxes and minimal maintenance. The old Dominican HS building is a well maintained building...but it too will probably sit empty after they leave. It lacks the parking space as currently configured to be of use for UTMB and while I guess it could revert to a school, GISD seems to have too much space on its hands already. Maybe a charter school like Odyssey Academy could use it. I'm sure they could get a pretty penny for their current campus given its location...but it might just be too small for them.

Brian Maxwell

Actually Ron, Jim Pozzi has moved many functions back to the island and they have committed to building a multi-million dollar parking structure for the tower in Galveston.

George Croix

Galveston population:

1930 52,938 19.6%
1940 60,862 15.0%
1950 66,568 9.4%
1960 67,175 0.9%
1970 61,809 −8.0%
1980 61,902 0.2%
1990 59,070 −4.6%
2000 57,247 −3.1%
2010 47,743 −16.6%
Est. 2016 50,550 5.9%

Daniel Abebe

Hope Moody not missing the boat. What goes up must come down and what goes down must come up.

Raymond Lewis

Good story on Ms Germany. The Texas Education Agency is considering cutting funding for high school cosmetology programs. This is solid evidence such programs are worth their weight in gold to many Galveston and other state residents.

lauraelder Staff
Laura Elder

Thank you Mr. Lewis. I didn't know the TEA was considering such a cut. We'll follow up on that.

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