Hooter holler: The sign is up and crews are busy at the site that’s soon to be home to Hooters, 6028 Heards Lane, on the island.
So, when will it open, inquiring readers want to know. Hooters had been planning a mid-October opening, but has pushed the date back to Nov. 13, spokeswoman Chantal O’Connell said.
In September 2016, the breastaurant chain known for chicken wings and sexy waitresses in short-shorts confirmed it would return to the island eight years after Hurricane Ike smashed to pieces its popular seawall restaurant on a pier over the Gulf of Mexico.
Tru-mors: Looks like those mid-August rumors were true about Dallas-based Trammell Crow Co. acquiring major parcels along Broadway in Galveston. City officials confirm Trammell Crow has acquired two tracts between 57th and 54th streets north of Broadway in what likely signals plans for fresh retail on the island. The prime parcels are near the Galveston County Criminal Justice Center.
Trammell Crow, one of the nation’s oldest and most prolific development firms, acquired an 11.39-acre island parcel from Lowe’s Home Improvement and a nearby tract of roughly 4 acres that had belonged to the county, Galveston Mayor Jim Yarbrough confirmed.
“We have confirmation they bought it and own it,” Yarbrough said. But questions remain, including what Trammell Crow plans to do with the parcels.
City and county officials have long wanted the land in front of the justice center to become commercially viable and go back on the tax rolls.
“I’ve been trying to get that done for 15 years,” said Yarbrough, also a former Galveston County judge.
Mooresville, N.C.-based Lowe’s Home Improvement had big plans for its former parcel, paying $3.1 million for what was then county-owned land with the intention to build a 117,000-square-foot store. But in 2011, Lowe’s abandoned those plans, at the time citing frail economic conditions.
Trammell Crow has declined to comment, but promises to keep Biz Buzz posted. The firm specializes in mixed-use developments that include residential, commercial and retail.
Pray tell: Meanwhile, Buzz was unable to confirm rumors that Trammell Crow also made offers to Island Church, which in early 2015 acquired 3.5 acres in front of the justice center on Broadway with plans to build a sizable worship center.
Island Church, which acquired the land directly behind the RaceTrac fueling station, 5714 Broadway, hasn’t begun construction. And, sources say Trammell Crow is interested in buying the property where the U.S. Postal Service office operates, 5826 Broadway. Trammell Crow would demolish that property, develop a new commercial center and lease space to the post office, sources say. Stay tuned.
Eyesore no more: Crews last week reduced to rubble the long-vacant Hollywood Island Food Store, 7627 Stewart Road, in Galveston. The property is owned by SPN Enterprise LLC, of which members of the Shah family are principals. Members of that family last week could not be reached for comment. But word has it the convenience store, which some islanders had complained was an eyesore, was demolished to make way for development of a four-story Hilton Garden Inn planned for 7626 Seawall Blvd. Stay tuned.
Room service: In more hospitality buzz, Houston-based BT&R has finalized acquisition of iconic The Commodore on the Beach, 3618 Seawall Blvd., on the island. BT&R bought the property, built in 1966, from Gary Druss and family. The new owners plan to update the 90-room midcentury modern hotel. The property, because of its age, will undergo a historic rehabilitation and is eligible for local, state and federal tax credits, said island architect Michael Gaertner, who BT&R has hired for the work.
Improvements to the property could include upgrading the air conditioning system and an exterior cleanup. Over the years, the aluminum curtain wall at the property has deteriorated a bit, Gaertner said. The new owners also plan to “turn up the volume” on the midcentury modern look of the building, Gaertner said. When most people think of island architecture, Victorian buildings come to mind, Gaertner said. But The Commodore’s midcentury modern design has character, he said.
“We’re going to stay within the framework of that character,” he said.
Settling in: As promised, Stewart’s Packaging has opened its retail and warehouse facility at 23rd Street and Avenue M, reviving a long-vacant building and filling a void left by Gately Paper Co., which closed in the summer.
Stewart’s Packaging, a Houston-based business in operation since 1957, has made some improvements and moved into the 7,000-square-foot space that has been vacant since Hurricane Ike struck in 2008.
Stewart’s Packaging offers such items as printed bags, bows, ribbons and tissues to retailers and also supplies restaurants and businesses with such items as foam cups/containers, foam/clear hinged lid containers, aluminum foil, butcher supplies, napkins, portion cups, towels, plates, bowls, some nonperishable food items and more.
The space was most recently occupied by an electrical contractor.
Cliff Bailey and his wife, Lisa, manage Stewart’s Packaging, which her family owns. Patrick Henry, who worked for Gately, is now with Stewart’s Packaging, which is already supplying former Gately customers. Along with businesses and restaurants, Stewart’s Packaging sells to general consumers and welcomes walk-ins.
Tenant talk: A long list of new tenants has moved into West Island Professional Center, 6511 Stewart Road, report owners Kay and Benny Davis. Here’s the rundown:
• Total Balance Health & Wellness has opened at the center as a full-service salon offering hair services, skin care, massage and yoga instruction. Total Balance Health & Wellness is in Suite 7-1 and is owned by Tonie Wingate.
• Full-service general contractor Tucon LLC, owned by Mike Unbehagen, has opened at the center. The firm is carrying on the work of four generations of Unbehagen builders and offers commercial and residential services.
• Jimmy Wisner has opened an office for Wisner Custom Construction at the center.
• Rebecca Henson has opened Texas Title Works at the center. The service helps people with lost titles to their cars, trucks, boats, RVs, trailers and anything else on wheels.
• Achtwoo Pool & Spa Pros has opened an island office at the center. The firm specializes in service, repair and upgrades of pools and spas.
Mall muscle: It’s no secret that a shake-up in the retail/department store industry is taking its toll on malls. But Baybrook Mall, Interstate 45 and Bay Area Boulevard, is an exception as it re-imagines mall spaces traditionally occupied by large anchor stores. As an example, Baybrook Mall’s owner, GGP, has partnered with Healthy Way of Life Company to develop a concept called Life Time at the shopping center. Life Time is planned for a 14-acre site along Gulf Brook Road, just behind Dave & Buster’s. Life Time will be a 120,000-square-foot athletic resort with indoor and outdoor pools, outdoor tennis courts, a lap pool, water slides and more. Stay tuned.
Buzz bloopers: A Biz Buzz item on Aug. 27 should have said that Delta Blues, the latest concept by Pappas Restaurants, was going into the former Bone Daddy’s site, 19901 Interstate 45 at the Centre at Baybrook in Webster. Delta Blues will serve a variety of steaks, as well as Southern-style dishes such as chicken-fried rib-eye steak with peppered cream gravy and more.
Meanwhile, an item last week about the sale of the Galatex Electric Building, 112 19th St. on the island, should have said Nellie Zapata from Joe Tramonte Realty represented Mathew Baby, the buyer. V.J. Tramonte of the same agency was the listing agent for the sellers.
Biz Buzz also would like to thank the astute readers who noted the Texas Department of Transportation is taking Tookie’s Seabrook property through eminent domain, not imminent domain, as this column reported.
On the burner: Look next week for appetizing buzz about two long-awaited restaurants — Pluckers and El Tiempo — soon to open in Webster.