Prime time: In a notably rare and sizable real estate transaction, League City-based Ashita Investments late last month acquired prime Interstate 45 frontage properties near Baybrook Mall, plus the first right to purchase a neighboring Lowe’s Home Improvement property, for more than $40 million in cash. What’s more, Ashita Investments, which acquired the property from two Real Estate Investment Trusts, closed the transaction in just three weeks, said Sammy Virani, managing director and chairman of the company.

Virani purchases Baybrook properties

Sammy Virani, managing director and chairman of Ashita Investments, acquired commercial property on the east and west sides of Interstate 45 near Bay Area Boulevard, making Ashita Investments landlord to national retail tenants such as Rooms To Go.

Through the transaction, Ashita acquired about a mile of commercial property on the east and west sides of the I-45 frontage at Bay Area Boulevard. The acquisition makes Ashita Investments a landlord to many national retail tenants. Ashita Investments, a privately owned company that has been investing in real estate for more than 20 years, also has the right of first refusal for the 53,000-square-foot Lowe’s property.

Biz Buzz: Ashita Investments

League City-based Ashita Investments also acquired a century-old building on San Antonio’s River Walk with a CVS on the bottom floor and an apartment on the top. The San Antonio property had been owned by the same family trust for 92 years.

Sonny’s Place rumors

Richard Puccetti stands in front of the family’s longtime, island restaurant, Sonny’s Place, on Friday, April 14, 2023. Puccetti hopes to quell rumors circulating about the East End island restaurant.

Laura Elder: 409-683-5248;


(4) comments

George Laiacona

I have been a long time patron of Sonny’s. I have taken the time to visit with Junior while he was in and out of the hospitals Remember he is 92 and doesn’t move around very much. But he is a delightful fixture of his family Restaurant. So his regular customers keep on coming in and listen to his stories and jokes. The staff is from the Ukraine and is provided with living accommodations upstairs over the restaurant. This extra is provided by very few restaurants on our island. Richard is a very kind and caring employer. We must realize that some day in the future he also will retire. Sonny’s Place will be here for some time to come. If you have not experienced the restaurant yet, then you are at a loss

Ted Gillis

When I was a student at Galveston College (way back when in the early 70's) several of us would go the Sonny's after class to eat those healthy hamburgers, drink beer and try to mix in with the UTMB student crowd, usually challenging someone to a game of shuffleboard, and almost always getting beat. Glad to hear that Jr. is doing fine and recovering. This article makes hungry. I may have to go feed my arteries again.

Wayne Holt

The first time my girlfriend and I ate at Sonny's, Junior came over and was chit-chatting, then picked up a plastic novelty mustard bottle and squirted the yellow string right at us as we flinched in horror. We thought he was hilarious, liked the no cursing rule, and especially liked the feel of walking into a true vintage Americana atmosphere.

Best wishes for a speedy recovery, Junior!

Roy Hughes

Written by Lynne Hughes Springer

About two years ago I decided to go by Sonny's and try the Fried Shrimp. I found that the batter was not made of the corn meal which was a big plus for me. I assume that Richard uses fresh shrimp. In comparison to the place where I used to eat shrimp Sonny's Shrimp was far superior to my old stand by restaurant. I was quite impressed with the quality of the meal. Many years ago my brother used to visit Sonny's as part of the UTMB student crew in the early 1980's. I know my brother had many good times there. Sending Junior and Richard my best.

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