Posts tagged “economic development

Podcast: ‘Hotel folklore’: How Embassy Suites built across from A&M

By Jay Socol, Public Communications Director

Whenever we hear about new businesses, it’s typically an initial announcement about what’s coming, where it’ll be and when it’ll open. Maybe you’ll eventually hear about the ribbon cutting, but that’s about it.

In this podcast episode, we talk with Ted Ent — president and COO of Mac Haik Hospitality — about the new Embassy Suites that’s scheduled to open Oct. 2 near the Texas A&M campus. Ted describes how he was able to secure a location that no one thought was available, what successes and challenges were part of the development process, and whether or not College Station has too many hotels.

00:00 – Introduction

01:45 — Ted talks about his background in the industry

03:00 — How did College Station get on your radar?

04:40 — “Folklore in the hotel industry”: How he secured such a prime location.

09:28 — College Station provided the most-pleasant development experience of his career.

13:08 — Ted’s role throughout the development process.

14:53 — The use of a local artist; other Ted touches.

16:30 — The Sabre

17:24 — Challenges along the way (traffic, utilities).

21:12 — Don’t we have too many hotels in College Station?

25:34 — What amenities are needed in the area that don’t currently exist?

29:40 — Show close

 

Podcast Archive

 


About the Blogger

Jay Socol (@jaysocol) is completing his eighth year as College Station’s public communications director. A 1991 graduate of Texas A&M, Jay has also been communications director for the Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service, public information officer for the City of Bryan, and news director at several Bryan-College Station area radio stations. A native of Breckenridge, he is also president of the Texas Association of Municipal Information Officers.


 

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Live Blog: Thursday’s city council meetings (July 13)

Back (L-R): Linda Harvell, Jerome Rektorik, James Benham, Barry Moore. Front (L-R): Blanche Brick, Mayor Karl Mooney, Julie Schultz.

By Colin Killian, Public Communications Manager

Welcome to our live blog from the College Station City Council’s workshop and regular meetings on Thursday, July 13. It’s not the official minutes.

The meeting is being broadcast live on Suddenlink Channels 19 and 119 (HD) and online. An archive of previous council meetings is available on the website.

3:33 p.m.

The workshop has started. (more…)


Podcast: Is this a thing? What’s coming to CS (episode 3)

By Jay Socol, Public Communications Director

This is the third edition of “Is This a Thing?” with Economic Development Director Natalie Ruiz, who talks about restaurants and retail that are more than just a rumor.

This interview covers a lot of ground — all throughout College Station.

Click below to listen. If Soundcloud doesn’t play in your older version of Internet Explorer, click here to hear to the audio file from your system.

 

00:00 – Opening.

01:57 — Home Depot shopping center: New arrivals, and status of vacant space.

02:47 — Pappadeaux: Yes, it’s still coming…

04:03 — University Town Center: Plans for 70K square feet behind Abuelo’s, etc. Status update.

05:13 — Chimney Hill: Was a thing, then a different thing. Now becoming a third thing. Comments on market forces and on doubling the size of The Republic.

08:30 — Old Albertson’s location. Status update.

10:45 — Embassy Suites: Opening in September.

11:35 — Dunkin’ Donuts: Still a thing, but…at a different location?

12:43 — Century Square: Comments on hotels and restaurant/retail: Porter’s Steakhouse, Piada Italian Street Food, Mo’s Irish Pub, Zoe’s Kitchen, Blaze Pizza, Hopdoddy Burger Bar, Berryhill Baja Grill, Hey Sugar Candy Store, Tiff’s Treats, Subzero Nitrogen Ice Cream, Star Cinema Grille, Merge Boutique, Orangetheory Fitness, Neighbors ER, and 100 Park.

14:55 — Northgate high-rises: $209M in new value currently under construction = 2,700 new bedrooms. Comments on vehicle volume, retail that could follow, and peak property values.

18:05 — Discussions about best uses for the property near IHOP and The Stack.

19:53 — New HEB at Wellborn Road and FM-2818, and what could be in future phases of the development.

22:10 — Tower Point: Restaurants that are coming.

23:28 — Rumors of a second Target? Status of the southeast corner of Rudder Freeway and W.D. Fitch.

25:30 — New construction near Baylor Scott & White Hospital on Rock Prairie Road.

26:12 — Mercedes/BMW dealership and new hotel development.

26:37 — New Academy store and surrounding pad sites.

27:21 — Old Academy location + status of Gander Mountain.

29:08 — TRYP by Wyndham, Urban Bricks, Altitude Trampoline Park.

32:12 — Status of In-N-Out Burger.

34:08 – BONUS.

 

Podcast Archive

 


About the Blogger

Jay Socol (@jaysocol) is in his eighth year as College Station’s public communications director. A 1991 graduate of Texas A&M. Jay has also been communications director for the Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service, public information officer for the City of Bryan, and news director at several Bryan-College Station area radio stations. A native of Breckenridge, he also serves as president of the Texas Association of Municipal Information Officers.


 

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Live Blog: Thursday’s city council meetings (Feb. 23)

By Colin Killian, Public Communications Manager

Welcome to our live blog from the College Station City Council’s workshop and regular meetings on Thursday, Feb. 23. It’s not the official minutes.

The meeting is being broadcast live on Suddenlink Channel 19 and streamed online. An archive of previous council meetings is available on the website.

6:09 p.m.

The workshop has started.

6:35 p.m.

Consent Agenda Discussion

The council will vote on items listed on the consent agenda during tonight’s regular meeting. Councilmember James Benham pulled this consent item for workshop discussion:

  • BerryDunn Contract Change Order: In 2014, the city approved a $645,638 contract with BerryDunn for the management of the ICE project. In August, council approved a $107,475 change order for additional services and expenses. At the time, the schedule for utility billing implementation was not final. As of February 10, the remaining fund balance is $2,312 for services and $22,520.78 for travel and expenses. Projected hours to complete the HR/payroll, utility billing and fixed assets implementation total 1,550 hours ($263,000), with $37,990 in estimated expenses. This change order adds funds to cover the associated hours and costs.

6:49 p.m.

Police Facility Design Update

The council heard an update on the conceptual design of a new police facility, which will be located southeast of the Dartmouth Street-Krenek Tap Road intersection. The $28 million station would almost double the number of available workstations.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

6:51 p.m.

Northgate Cultural and Historical Display

The council voted unanimously to postpone this presentation until the March 9 meeting. 

7:10 p.m.

Commercial Land Preservation

The council discussed the city’s role in promoting the development of existing and potential commercial properties. The consensus of the council was to move forward with proactive retail recruitment, which includes identifying available property for retailers. 

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

7:14 p.m.

Mayor Karl Mooney adjourned the workshop after the council discussed its calendar and received committee reports. The regular meeting will start after a short break.

7:21 p.m.

The regular meeting has started.

7:28 p.m.

XYZ Atlas Project

Artist Jennifer Chenoweth of Austin introduced a local project based on what she’s done in the state capital:

XYZ Atlas: The Experience Map of Bryan & College Station asks why we feel a sense of belonging to a place by mapping experiences and collecting stories that document our highs and lows.

XYZ Atlas is an interactive public art project. We create art, maps, and activations that affect community health and well being, urban planning, and cultural tourism with diverse outreach strategies to reach art lovers and underserved communities of all ages.

We are working in the Bryan and College Station communities and expect to schedule a final exhibition in May.

The project is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment of the Arts Challenge America, Mid-America Arts Alliance Artistic Innovations, Texas Commission for the Arts, and foundations, corporations and individuals throughout Arkansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Texas. 

art-presentation

7:32 p.m.

National Service Recognition Day

The mayor proclaimed April 4 as National Service Recognition Day. Pictured below with Mayor Mooney is Curt Sterner, Senior Corps Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) coordinator.

volunteer-proclaimation

7:39 p.m.

Hear Visitors

Two people spoke during Hear Visitors when citizens might address the council on any item that doesn’t appear on the posted agenda.

  • Ben Roper recognized Army Sgt. William C. Eckhart as part of the Fallen Heroes Memorial program. The 25-year-old Rocksprings native died April 10, 2004, in an explosion in Baqubah, Iraq.
  • Mike Clements, president of the College Station Firefighters Association, recognized and thanked Joe Don Warren (below with certificate) for his service as the city’s interim fire chief. Jonathan McMahan will be sworn-in as the new fire chief on Friday.

fire-presentation

7:40 p.m.

Consent Agenda

The council voted unanimously to approve the entire consent agenda:

  • The annual traffic contact report required by the state.
  • Authorized the city manager to submit a grant application to the Governor’s Criminal Justice Division to fund 80 percent of the salary and benefits for a crime victim’s advocate.
  • An amendment adding “Creation of an Audit Committee” to the city’s code of ordinances.
  • A resolution consenting to the Bryan City Council providing economic development incentives to ViaSat, Inc.
  • A $4.79 million contract with Freese and Nichols for design, bidding, and construction phase services for the expansion of the Lick Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant.
  • A change order increasing by $279,500 a contract with BerryDunn for project management services and expenses.
  • Authorized the mayor to sign an inter-local agreement with the City of Bryan to extend the common boundary of the College Station/Bryan Extraterritorial Jurisdiction (ETJ).
  • The Semi-Annual Report for Impact Fees.
  • Renewal of a building use agreement with the Arts Council of Brazos Valley through March 6, 2018, for the building located at 2275 Dartmouth Dr.
  • A resolution of support for Rock Prairie Village’s application for low-income housing tax credits through the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs.

7:49 p.m.

Luther-Jones Butler Rezoning

After a public hearing, the council voted 6-0 to approve a request to change the zoning designation for about three acres southeast of the Luther Street-Jones Butler Road intersection. Councilman Barry Moore recused himself from the vote because of a conflict of interest. The change will allow for mixed-use, commercial and multi-family development.

The change will allow for mixed-use, commercial and multi-family development.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

7:55 p.m.

Wellborn Road Rezoning

After a public hearing, the council voted unanimously to approve a request to change the zoning designation for about one acre northeast of the Wellborn Road-Greens Prairie Road intersection. The change will allow for commercial development.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

10:09 p.m.

Arrington Road Rezoning

After a public hearing, the council voted 6-1 to approve a request to change the zoning designation for about 12 acres south of the South Oaks Drive-Arrington Road intersection. The change will allow for a multi-family development. Councilwoman Blanche Brick voted against the motion.

A total of 19 people spoke or provided written comments during the public hearing. All opposed the rezoning.

Here are the PowerPoint presentations:

10:15 p.m.

Spring Creek Local Government Corporation

The council voted unanimously to approve a certificate of formation for the Spring Creek Local Government Corporation and appointed John Nichols and Planning & Zoning Commission Chairman Jane Kee to the initial board of directors.

The non-profit government corporation was created to promote economic development anchored by College Station’s next business park.

10:18 p.m.

The council discussed and reviewed future agenda items.

10:18 p.m.

Mayor Mooney adjourned the meeting. The council meets again on Thursday, March 9.


14316755_10108798313965164_2904942172107966680_nAbout the Author

Colin Killian (@ColinKillian)has been with the City of College Station since 2010. He previously served 23 years as associate media relations director for the Texas A&M Athletics Department. Killian has also been a reporter and editor for the Corpus Christi Caller-Times and Lewisville News. A native of Hobbs, N.M., he graduated from Texas Tech with a bachelor’s degree in journalism/political science.


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5 things to watch at Thursday’s city council meetings

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By Colin Killian, Public Communications Manager

The College Station City Council gathers Thursday at city hall for its workshop (6 p.m.) and regular (7 p.m.) meetings. Here are five items to watch:

  1. New Police Facility: In the workshop, the council will hear an update on the design of a new police facility on the southeast corner of the Dartmouth Street-Krenek Tap Road intersection.
  2. Commercial Preservation: The council will also have a workshop discussion about the city’s role in promoting the development of existing and potential commercial properties.
  3. Lick Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant: On the consent agenda is a $4.79 million contract for services associated with the expansion of the Lick Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant.
  4. Arrington Road Rezoning: After a public hearing, the council will consider a request to change the zoning designation from Rural to Multi-Family for about 12 acres south of the South Oaks Drive-Arrington Road intersection. The change would allow for development.
  5. Spring Creek Local Government Corporation: The council will consider approving the certificate of formation and bylaws of the Spring Creek Local Government Corporation, a non-profit government corporation created to promote economic development anchored by College Station’s next business park. The council will also consider initial board directors.

The meetings can be watched live on Suddenlink Ch. 19, or online. The website includes an archive of previous council meetings. We’ll post a detailed live blog on this site.

Related links:                                                                 

 


14316755_10108798313965164_2904942172107966680_nAbout the Author

Colin Killian (@ColinKillian)has been with the City of College Station since 2010. He previously served 23 years as associate media relations director for the Texas A&M Athletics Department. Killian has also done extensive volunteer work for the U.S. Olympic Committee and worked as a reporter and editor for the Corpus Christi Caller-Times and Lewisville News. A native of Hobbs, N.M., he graduated from Texas Tech with a bachelor’s degree in journalism/political science.


 

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Live Blog: Thursday’s city council meetings (Feb. 9)

2016-city-council

By Colin Killian, Public Communications Manager

Welcome to our live blog from the College Station City Council’s workshop and regular meetings on Thursday, Feb. 9. It’s not the official minutes.

The meeting is being broadcast live on Suddenlink Channel 19 and streamed online. An archive of previous council meetings is available on the website.

6:02 p.m.

The workshop has started. Councilman James Benham is absent tonight.

6:03 p.m.

Consent Agenda Discussion

The council will vote on items listed on the consent agenda during tonight’s regular meeting. No consent items were pulled for workshop discussion.

6:37 p.m.

Affordable Housing Development

The council unanimously supported the concept of an affordable housing development off Rock Prairie Road East and applications by developers for low-income housing tax credits through the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs. The development will still need to come back to council for approval at a later date.

The 2015 Consolidated Plan and Annual Action Plan identified rental housing as a priority need for low-to-moderate income individuals and families, as well as the city’s elderly and disabled populations. The FY17 Action Plan and adopted budget allocate funds for acquisition and infrastructure costs related to supporting the development of affordable housing units.

Here are the PowerPoint presentations:

7:17 p.m.

Suburban Commercial Zoning Districts

The council reviewed the uses and design standards associated with Suburban Commercial zoning districts.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

7:20 p.m.

Mayor Mooney adjourned the workshop after the council discussed its calendar and heard committee reports.

The regular meeting will start after a short break.

7:29 p.m.

The regular meeting has started.

7:36 p.m.

2-1-1 Day Proclamation

Mayor Karl Mooney proclaimed Saturday as National 2-1-1 Day. United Way of the Brazos Valley’s 2-1-1 Texas program is a free information and referral center that connects residents to community resources. When callers dial 2-1-1, they are connected to specialists who ensure the caller’s specific needs are addressed with accurate and prompt referrals.

Pictured below are (L-R): Debbie Eller (City of College Station community services director), Peggi Goss (vice president of community impact), Mayor Mooney, Hilda Salazar (2-1-1 program manager), Katharine Gammon (program and resource coordinator), and CeAnne Jones (communications and outreach coordinator). 

proclaimation21117

7:41 p.m.

Local Housing Assistance Partnerships

The council recognized the city’s collaborative partnerships that address local housing assistance. State Farm also presented a check for $8,900 to Rebuilding Together-BCS, whose mission is to transform the lives of low-income homeowners by improving the safety and health of their homes and revitalizing their community. Click here to read Community Development Analyst David Brower’s recent blog post about the partnerships.

Pictured below are (L-R): Ron Lightsey (RT BCS board president) Bruce Boyd (State Farm agent), Kelli Smith (State Farm sales leader), Steve Godby (RT BCS executive director), and Janis Godby (RT BCS board secretary/treasurer).  

checkpresentation21117

7:46 p.m.

Hear Visitors

One person spoke during Hear Visitors when citizens might address the council on any item that doesn’t appear on the posted agenda.

  • Ben Roper recognized Army Spc. Adolfo C. Carballo as part of the Fallen Heroes Memorial program. The 20-year-old Houston native died April 10, 2004, when he was struck by shrapnel in Baghdad, Iraq.

7:47 p.m.

Consent Agenda

The council voted unanimously to approve the entire consent agenda:

  • Added the local government investment pool, LOGIC.
  • Added the prime account in the local government investment pool, TexPool.
  • The second renewal of an annual agreement not to exceed $190,000 with the Brazos Valley Softball Umpires Association to provide officiating services for city athletic leagues, programs, and tournaments.
  • Authorized the city manager or his designees to execute grant applications for Criminal Justice Division funds from the Office of the Governor.

9:00 p.m.

Arrington Road Rezoning

After a public hearing, the council voted 5-0 to approve a request to rezone about 10.5 acres at the intersection of Arrington Road and Old Arrington Road.The change will allow the development of an apartment complex called Caprock 10. Councilman Barry Moore recused himself because of a conflict of interest. 

In the public hearing, seven people expressed concerns about traffic and other issues created by the development.

Here are the PowerPoint presentations:

9:04 p.m.

Crescent Point Land Use Change

After a public hearing, the council voted unanimously to approve a request to change the land use designation for about six acres at the intersection of Crescent Pointe Parkway and Copperfield Parkway. The change will allow the development of The Crescent Pointe Townhomes. No one spoke during the public hearing.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

9:07 p.m.

Crescent Point Rezoning

After a public hearing, the council voted unanimously to approve a request to change the zoning designation for about six acres at the intersection of Crescent Pointe Parkway and Copperfield Parkway. The change would allow the development of The Crescent Pointe Townhomes. No one spoke during the public hearing.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

9:09 p.m.

Stasney and Nagle Easement Abandonments

After a public hearing, the council voted unanimously to abandon a pair of public utility easements on Stasney Street and Nagle Street to accommodate the design of a new apartment complex in Northgate. No one spoke during the public hearing.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

9:12 p.m.

RELLIS External Advisory Council

The council voted unanimously to nominate Mayor Mooney to the external advisory council for the Texas A&M University System’s new RELLIS campus. The nomination was made at the request of Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp.

9:15 p.m.

The council discussed future agenda items.

9:15 p.m.

Mayor Mooney adjourned the meeting. The council meets again on Thursday, Feb. 23.


14316755_10108798313965164_2904942172107966680_nAbout the Author

Colin Killian (@ColinKillian) has been with the City of College Station since 2010. He previously served 23 years as associate media relations director for the Texas A&M Athletics Department. Killian has also been a reporter and editor for the Corpus Christi Caller-Times and Lewisville News. A native of Hobbs, N.M., he graduated from Texas Tech with a bachelor’s degree in journalism/political science.


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