Winds of change: Owners of the 130,000-square-foot Tradewinds Shopping Center in Texas City are in negotiations to lease about 70,000 square feet to a variety of tenants, some national, they confirmed this week. Because the negotiations are underway, Wingfield Partners, which last year bought the center on the northeast corner of Palmer Highway and 21st Street, declined to divulge names of potential tenants.

“We’re in the process of finalizing the leases,” Scott Kell, a Wingfield Partners principal, said last week.

But what Kell can say is that Harbor Freight Tools won’t be moving into the center. Earlier this year, this column buzzed the well-sourced but unconfirmed rumor that California-based Harbor Freight Tools was considering space in the Tradewinds Shopping Center. The rumor was true, but Harbor Freight, which sells hand tools, generators, air and power tools, shop equipment and automotive tools at discounted prices, decided to look elsewhere.

Rumor has it Harbor Freight is considering another Texas City site — possibly in the Marathon Galveston Bay Refinery business office building, 3401 Palmer Highway. But the company declined to comment until it finalized a real estate transaction.

“Unfortunately, as of now, we are unable to comment on a potential store,” Harbor Freight Tools spokeswoman Lisa Hartley said in an email. “We will be in contact with you once we are able to make an official comment.”

Meanwhile, Wingfield Partners has been repairing the roof and plans to improve the façade of the building, which is about 30 percent occupied with tenants that include Little Caesars Pizza and Citi Trends. Wingfield Partners also has worked to bring the property up to code and improve landscaping with the goal of enhancing the appearance of the shopping center and filling it with tenants that will generate tax revenue for the city, Kell said.

“It needs some TLC,” Kell said. “The city has been fantastic; they have worked very closely with us.” Stay tuned.

Bigger business: La Marque-based A&A Machine & Fabrication has completed the first phase of its site expansion at 3101 Texas Ave. The expansion allows A&A, which provides machining and fabrication services to a worldwide clientele of petrochemical companies, to meet growing customer demands for larger hardware and equipment and increased efficiencies in manufacturing and fabrication, reports Colleen Merritt, a spokeswoman for La Marque’s Economic Development Corp.

For the expansion, A&A acquired additional property along the southwest side of its facility and excavated a detention pond, poured a new parking lot and moved the lay-down yard. The work made way for the second phase, which includes adding enclosed manufacturing floor space, Merritt said. A&A has 80,000 square feet of manufacturing space on 8 acres and has been in business in La Marque since 1957.

Home work: At age 56, island resident Danny Marlow is about to make a big career change. The former engineer in the commercial real estate industry has become a franchise owner of Pillar To Post Home Inspectors in Galveston.

“My previous experience in mechanical, electrical, plumbing and structures provides a good knowledge base as I move into the home inspection business,” Marlow said.

Tampa-based Pillar To Post Home Inspectors, with more than 600 franchises, is the largest home inspection company in North America. Marlow will operate the business from his home office. His website is https://dannymarlow.pillartopost.com.

Mamma mia! The island soon will be home to a new Italian restaurant. Esmaeil Mostagh is aiming to open Gianni’s Italian Bistro & Bar next month. The restaurant, 2412 Seawall Blvd., will serve dinner until 9 p.m. and drinks until 2 a.m., said Mostagh who most recently owned and operated Nick’s Pizza & Gelato, 210 state Highway 3 in League City. Mostagh closed that restaurant after being unable to come to an agreement with the landlord about rent, he said. Stay tuned.

Ten-Hut: After several years and much anticipation, The Beach Hut, 731 Seawall Blvd., in Galveston, is open. The Beach Hut features live music, food and adult beverages. Owners responded to media inquiries by saying “We’re open,” but didn’t elaborate or answer follow-up questions.

Pelican brief: In less cheerful dining buzz, Joe and Belinda Miller have closed their Pelican Joe’s restaurant in the landmark Trumpet Building on the second and third floors of Old Galveston Square, 23rd and Strand streets. The restaurant served smoked barbecue, among other fare, and was open a little less than a year.

“In life, some doors are closed while others open to new opportunities,” the Millers posted on social media late last month. “Sadly, the doors of Pelican Joe’s are closed for good. We had a lot of fun with this place and enjoyed the great people we met. We were voted one of the Top 5 new restaurants in Galveston County and rated one of the best restaurants on the Strand by Yelp, Google and Facebook. We wish you all the best in your pursuit of Beer, BBQ & Crabs.”

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

Managing Editor

(2) comments

Steve Fouga

The closer Harbor Freight gets to the Island, the better! Here's hoping a TX City store opens soon... [thumbup]

Tommy Gober

Haha... The Beach Hut is finally open, just in time for the end of the season. Best of luck with that.

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