Lowe's land goes to auction

Property owned by Lowe’s Home Improvement recently went up for auction. Lowe’s long ago abandoned plans to build a store on the land between 55th and 57th streets just north of Broadway in Galveston.

GALVESTON

The Lowe’s land is Lowe’s no more.

Galveston County Commissioners voted unanimously Monday to pay $3.5 million for 10 acres along Broadway between 54th and 59th streets.

The county plans to use the land for a new building to house expansion of its bond office in response to an American Civil Liberties Union lawsuit over its bail system, officials said.

The county bought the land from Lowe’s Companies in a transaction scheduled to be completed Monday evening, County Judge Mark Henry said.

The deal brings the land full circle. The county sold the land to Lowe’s for $3.1 million in 2011. Lowe’s once planned to build a home improvement store on the parcel, but never carried through with its plans.

The land has been for sale since at least 2013.

The county began to show interest in buying back the land earlier this year. It plans to use the site for a new building that will be part of the Galveston County Justice Center complex. The new building will be used to house an expansion of the county’s personal bond office.

The new building is planned as part of the county’s response to a civil rights lawsuit filed over its bail system by the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas in April 2018.

The county plans to expand the bond office to give itself more space to do things like financial interviews with people eligible for bond and for pretrial supervision work, such as drug testing and GPS monitoring, Henry said. Other offices could also be moved to the new building, he said.

The exact extent of the office expansion still isn’t known, Henry said. It will be up to Aaron Johnson, the recently hired director of the personal bond office, to make recommendations to commissioners about what will be required as part of the expansion and how much space the county will need for it, Henry said.

Johnson began at the county last week, Henry said.

“I would hope he brings us multiple options to look at,” Henry said.

Construction on the land won’t start until 2020 at the earliest, Henry said.

Depending on how much land is used for the new county building, the county might sell off part of the land bordering Broadway for commercial development, Henry said.

John Wayne Ferguson: 409-683-5226; john.ferguson@galvnews.com or on Twitter @johnwferguson.

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(2) comments

Bailey Jones

New construction and social justice - both welcome.

Marc Edelman

That was a cheap loan from Lowe's to the county. If they can use the land, it was a smart purchase.

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