Texas 146 work means pain and promise in Seabrook
77彩票网appAs construction continues to widen Texas 146 in Seabrook from four to 12 lanes, the impact on the 76 affected businesses has been dramatic, with many closing and others moving. Meanwhile, city officials are moving to reach out to companies who might be interested in locating on the highway once improvements are complete in a few years.
The Seabrook Economic Development Corp. recently contracted the consulting firm Retail Strategies to help major chains identify Seabrook as a prospective place to locate a store.
“We’re contracting with them to get us in that 1½- or two-year pipeline,” EDC director Paul Chavez said. “They work with these companies and understand what they want in a community.”
77彩票网app“It will take them time to consider our area and put us on the list, so we figured now is the best time to get on those lists.”
A restaurant adjusts to changes
For William Whitney, new owner of Mario’s Pizza & Pasta along with partner Tom Pakkala, the construction meant an opportunity to buy the restaurant and naming rights for the place he’d worked at for more than 20 years when its Texas 146 location closed to make room for the road work that started in February.
77彩票网app“(Previous owner Tamara Vogt) just decided at the time that she was getting out of the business,” Whitney said. “She had owned the place for 30 years and decided it was time to hang it up.”
77彩票网appWhitney said business has been steady since the restaurant’s relocation to 2100 E. Nasa Parkway No. 100.
“All of our regular customers followed us, and the construction people working on the road come in, too,” he said.
Some businesses remain, such as Kroger’s, Dairy Queen, Seabrook Waffle Company and Tookie’s Seafood.
City officials said they remain in constant contact with the Texas Department of Transportation, which is conducting the work, and with the local business community to offer any assistance to help the remaining or relocated businesses succeed.
City Manager Gayle Cook admitted it was difficult to Of the 76 affected, only 12 managed to relocate or stay open.
77彩票网app“It’s been tough, but we’ve been preparing for this for the last five years,” she said.
Chavez said his organization is doing what it can to support local companies, particularly those that were located on Texas 146.
“We have events where (business owners) can come and meet us and talk with us about their concerns and we talk about how we can help them,” he said.
77彩票网appMeanwhile, EDC representatives will travel to Fort Worth in early January to attend the International Council of 77彩票网appping Centers’ Red River States Conference & Deal Making event. There they can sell Seabrook as a potential locale for expansion.
The EDC also recently launched a new geographic information on its website that allows potential new business owners, investors or developers an opportunity to scope available properties in the city.
The EDC is working with developers willing to invest in land along the highway in anticipation of when the work is complete.
77彩票网app“A lot of businesses and developers are waiting to see what happens there; so I’m staying in contact with them and working with them to identify small parcels of land along 146, encouraging them to consider picking up several of the small pieces that are close together (to create one large site),” Chavez said.
77彩票网appCook said, for some companies, planning a future move to the highway makes sense, especially with the .
“So, for developers looking deep into the future this could be an opportunity,” she said.
77彩票网appChavez said the EDC’s efforts to boost the city’s current and future business industry are ongoing, even if they aren’t always obvious.
77彩票网app“It may not seem like a whole lot is going on on the ground, but we are working behind the scenes and talking to decision makers about Seabrook,” he said. “We know the land outside is not looking so inviting now, but when our house is completed we believe everyone will want a room.”
The EDC also modified its incentive application to allow additional consideration for impacted businesses along the highway. Chavez said that any company willing to reopen within city limits was eligible for help with costs associated with relocation or buildouts.
In addition to Mario’s, which took the EDC up on its offer, CVS moved its business to the Seabrook Town Center. Chavez said the move has been successful so far.
77彩票网app“They’re doing great,” he said.
For many who lost businesses and for the city in general, there is hope Seabrook’s commercial industry will come out in better shape after the work ends than before Texas 146 was turned into a construction zone.
77彩票网app“When they did the (land) acquisitions of commercial businesses, all of them on the west side (of the highway) were demolished, and it was painful,” Cook said. “But we’re excited about what this place is going to look like in the future.”
77彩票网appWhitney at Mario’s agreed. “For the last two years traffic there was horrible, but I guess that’s why they’re doing the expansion,” he said.
Waiting out the construction
In addition to increasing the roadway, the improvements on Texas 146 will add overpasses of various local streets, and construction will continue for three to four years. The widened highway will be an elevated road from NASA 1 south to League City Parkway. The stretch through Seabrook accounts for about 1½ miles.
77彩票网app“The east side expansion is almost complete,” Cook said, “and when it’s done there will be a 14-foot pedestrian path that is absolutely essential and a real asset as a protected pathway because we do have a lot of pedestrian traffic that goes over the bridge.”
77彩票网appThat bridge spans the Galveston Channel and connects Seabrook and Kemah with Galveston. “Fingers crossed that the majority of work (in Seabrook) will be done within three years,” Cook said.
The sooner the better for the city’s sales tax coffers. Though Cook said the sales tax revenue is on target, city officials established an $800,000 stabilization fund ahead of the construction to offset and prepare for subsequent loss of business tax revenue.
77彩票网app“A couple of years ago we readjusted the budget; so we got used to living on what we knew was to come, but we’re holding on to that savings in case we have a more difficult year,” she said.