Posts tagged “Podcast

Podcast series explores city’s FY 21 proposed budget

By Jay Socol, Public Communications Director

After a multi-month, coronavirus-inspired break, the All Up In Your Business podcast is back with a special miniseries: Four episodes that focus on College Station’s Fiscal Year 2021 proposed budget.

We’re calling it All Up In Your Budget.

Fiscal Services Director Mary Ellen Leonard joins me to dissect and explain the city’s 330-page budget document, including changes caused by COVID-19, how sustainable we think those are, and what it means to our residents. This budget year is like no other, and we want to make sure residents and taxpayers understand what’s in it, what’s not in it, and why. (more…)


All Up In Your Business: Dallis family / Burger Mojo

By Jay Socol, Public Communications Director

The Dallis family has operated some of the most iconic food and beverage destinations in College Station. Cafe Eccell may be their best-known restaurant, but they recently entered the highly competitive burger market through their new concept Burger Mojo.

In this episode, Economic Development Director Natalie Ruiz and I talk to Costa and Andreas Dallis about their legacy of business ventures and how difficult it is to remain relevant in a fast-growing, student-driven community. They even explain why they believe a burger joint in close proximity to so many other burger joints has a solid chance.

Meanwhile, Natalie also discusses the importance of redeveloping older commercial areas in College Station, and how her office has seen early success and is continuing that focus.

All Up In Your Business is available via Podbean, Apple Podcasts, Google Play, iHeartRadio, Spotify, Stitcher, and YouTube. Please subscribe, rate and recommend!

Have a suggestion for a future topic or interview, or just want to say hi? Send to jsocol@cstx.gov

 


About the Blogger

Jay Socol (@jaysocol) is in his 11th 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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All Up In Your Business: Walk-On’s

By Jay Socol, Public Communications Director

Who better to open a Walk-On’s Sports Bistreaux in College Station than a former walk-on to the Texas A&M football team? Cory (’08) and Jenny (’01) Davis are poised to open their business in south College Station — their first foray into the restaurant business — and talk about how College Station was the only city they ever considered for such a major endeavor.

Also in this episode, Economic Development Director Natalie Ruiz and Communications Director Jay Socol talk about how the City of College Station sometimes spots opportunities to help new businesses or developers find just the right location for whatever they want to bring to the market.

Finally, Nat shares updated info on some additional restaurants under development in south College Station or, as Jay calls it, “SoCol.”

All Up In Your Business is now available via Podbean, Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Spotify, and Stitcher.

 


About the Blogger

Jay Socol (@jaysocol) is in his 11th 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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Podcast: College Station eco-devo 101

By Jay Socol, Public Communications Director

We hear it all the time: “Hey, College Station, how come you don’t bring a [fill in the blank] to town?”

The other side of that is, “Hey, bozos, why do you keep bringing more [fill in the blank] to our city?”

First, some of you have anger issues. Seriously, though, a lot of people don’t understand:

  • What the city can be credited for bringing to town.
  • What the city should not be credited/blamed for bringing to town.
  • What our economic development staff is actively recruiting to CS.

In this episode of AUIYB, Economic Development Director Natalie Ruiz and I discuss all these points, as well as some things about Post Oak Mall you may not know. (cliffhanger!)

Subscribe to All Up In Your Business at your favorite podcast source — Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Spotify, Stitcher, or Podbean.

 


About the Blogger

Jay Socol (@jaysocol) is starting his 11th 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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Podcast: Breakfast you’ll be la Gladeleine about

By Jay Socol, Public Communications Director

In this podcast episode, College Station Economic Development Director Natalie Ruiz returns to talk about new restaurants, office space, commercial expansion and more. We also dive into an email from a pod listener (we have one!) who expressed concerns about what feels like constant expansion in College Station.

All Up In Your Business is now available via Podbean, Apple Podcasts/iTunes, Google Play, Spotify, and Stitcher.


About the Blogger

Jay Socol (@jaysocol) is in his 10th 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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Podcast: Culpeppers are legacy residential, retail developers who still have plans

By Jay Socol, Public Communications Director

If you’ve lived in College Station or Bryan more than a minute, then you probably know about the Culpepper family. If not, then you’re certainly living, shopping, dining or being entertained in spaces that were developed by the Culpeppers.

President/CEO of Culpepper Realty Co. Jack Culpepper and General Counsel Larry Haskins talked to me about the beginnings of the family business, its early successes throughout the twin cities (and beyond) — and even gave some hints about their next redevelopment moves on property just across from Texas A&M. Hint: Think of the space where IHOP, Schlotzsky’s and Hurricane Harry’s are located — across from Century Square.

There’s great insight from a family that’s already invested in College Station for nine decades, with its fourth generation already working on the next big announcement.

All Up In Your Business is now available via Podbean, Apple Podcasts/iTunes, Google Play, Spotify, and Stitcher.


About the Blogger

Jay Socol (@jaysocol) is in his 10th 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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Podcast: Real talk about Gringo’s and Buc-ee’s

By Jay Socol, Public Communications Director

College Station Economic Development Director Natalie Ruiz and I had a jaunty (thanks, thesaurus!) podcast discussion this week about some businesses either recently on the ground or that we at least have a really good shot at.

But we also talked about one that appeared to be a sure thing until it wasn’t: Gringo’s.

Others topics we cover:

  • How genuine the interest is from Buc-ee’s in a College Station location vs. Nat’s own wishful thinking?
  • Why does it matter so much that the extensions to Lakeway Drive and Pebble Creek Parkway are now open? (Hint: Midtown)

For those brave enough to sample the video version of this episode, we apologize profusely for obscuring Nat’s face with the new microphone. A partial Nat eclipse is definitely visible to the naked eye.

 


About the Blogger

Jay Socol (@jaysocol) is in his 10th 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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Podcast: Is This a Thing? (Episode 10)

By Jay Socol, Public Communications Director

In this episode of “Is This A Thing?” we share Economic Development Director Natalie Ruiz’s recent presentation to the Economic Outlook Conference, which recapped market trends and successes from 2018, along with a look ahead through 2019 and into 2020.

Natalie then took a deeper dive into the city’s emerging Midtown Business Park and why that entire area of College Station is so important to the city’s future. (more…)


Is This A Thing? Live from The Stella Hotel

By Jay Socol, Public Communications Director

This episode of “Is This a Thing?” was taped Sept. 17 in front of a live audience and featured College Station Economic Development Director Natalie Ruiz, Bryan Economic Development Manager Todd McDaniel, and Brazos Valley Economic Development Corporation Chair-Elect Bobby Gutierrez.

Total run time: 50:31

  • 00:00 — Message to live audience.
  • 01:05 — Show open and introductions.
  • 03:06 — Ruiz on whether or not the time of year affects the ability to succeed at economic development.
  • 05:15 — McDaniel on how Bryan is prepared to tackle the redevelopment of Texas Avenue between Villa Maria Road and downtown.
  • 08:56 — Gutierrez on what the EDC’s role is in complementing the work performed by College Station and Bryan.
  • 12:28 — Ruiz on the importance of sales tax revenues and how online and brick-and-mortar retailers are joining forces.
  • 16:30 — McDaniel on the changes we can expect in the proximity of the future super park development at the former Bryan Golf Course site.
  • 20:35 — Gutierrez offers to answer the question McDaniel was asked about the super park area.
  • 24:33 — McDaniel on what BCS needs to attract more jobs and industry.
  • 26:00 — Ruiz adds to the perspective.
  • 26:51 — Gutierrez chimes in on the same topic.
  • 29:12 — Gutierrez answers an audience question: What types of industry are you trying to recruit?
  • 31:14 — Ruiz answers an audience question: What’s being done about the ever-emerging multifamily developments?
  • 33:08 — Gutierrez answers from a Bryan Planning & Zoning Commission perspective.
  • 35:01 — McDaniel adds perspective from a City of Bryan standpoint.
  • 36:35 — Audience question: Gutierrez talks about addressing growth and needs in surrounding communities.
  • 39:36 — Audience question: How do nonprofits fit into your planning and economic development work?
  • 41:07 — Gutierrez addresses how nonprofits fit into that work.
  • 44:03 — Audience question: Plans for Highway 6?
  • 45:33 — Natalie adds the College Station perspective on Highway 6.
  • 46:54 — Gutierrez gives Bryan P&Z perspective on development along major corridors.
  • 49:48 — Show wrap-up.

 

 


About the Blogger

Jay Socol (@jaysocol) is in his 10th 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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Is This A Thing? Krispy Kreme, Lululemon and Spice World

By Jay Socol, Public Communications Director

Episode 8 of “Is This A Thing?” finds College Station Economic Development Director Natalie Ruiz talking about the status of some restaurants and businesses you’ve been hearing about for a while, plus new trends that are showing interest in College Station, such as “entertainment uses.”

Total run time: 32:22

  • 00:00 — Open.
  • 00:57 — University Town Center: Lots of interest, looking for an anchor.
  • 02:34 — Chimney Hill: Republic/Primrose Path, drive-thru Starbucks, hotel, restaurant.
  • 05:18 — Century Square: Lululemon, Clean Juice and more on the way.
  • 08:38 — Northgate: Stunning number of new beds, commercial demands, food trucks.
  • 13:05 — Texas Avenue activity
  • 13:43 — Harvey Road update: Krispy Kreme IS A THING.
  • 15:12 — What does old Toys R Us location lend itself to?
  • 16:44 — Jones Crossing + H-E-B.
  • 17:47 — City View Southwest at SH40/Barron Road.
  • 19:24 — CapRock + Tower Point: What’s working, what’s coming?
  • 20:52 — The Yard (sounds kinda cool).
  • 21:39 — Gringo’s is STILL A THING + Walk-Ons and Starbucks.
  • 22:56 — Highway-6: Stella Restaurant, BV Autoplex, At Home (opening soon!).
  • 24:14 — More interest in entertainment, such as bowling/games, rock climbing.
  • 26:40 — What it was learned at the largest retail conference in the U.S.
  • 31:10 — Next time + show close.

 

 


About the Blogger

Jay Socol (@jaysocol) is in his ninth 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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Podcast: Jones Crossing H-E-B built for technology – and pizza

By Jay Socol, Public Communications Director

H-E-B‘s newest store in College Station is set to open Sept. 12, and there will be striking differences when compared to locations at Holleman Drive and at Tower Point.

In this edition of the podcast, H-E-B Area Community Coordinator Diane Besosa talks about everything from app-based shopping/checkout to the restaurant that will be located inside.

Total run time: 23:30

  • 00:00 — The Name Game, what exactly Diane does for H-E-B.
  • 02:25 — A typical day for an H-E-B area coordinator is …
  • 03:30 — What’s the strategy for the new store?
  • 04:53 — There really is a difference in the way each store location is stocked.
  • 05:17 — Let’s talk about how the Jones Crossing store will be unique.
  • 05:41 — Coming: A new app, HEB60, that puts the shopping/payment power in your hand.
  • 08:03 — Full-service restaurant to be located in-store: SoFlo
  • 09:20 — This store will have full buildout for curbside service.
  • 10:32 — Next-level floral presence + delivery.
  • 14:48 — Anxious ahead of opening? State of the store right now?
  • 19:02 — How do BCS shoppers behave differently than in other parts of Houston market?

 

 


About the Blogger

Jay Socol (@jaysocol) is in his ninth 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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Podcast: Is This A Thing? How the At Home deal was sealed (Episode 7)

By Jay Socol, Public Communications Director

Home decor superstore At Home has announced it will occupy the property that was formerly Gander Mountain on Earl Rudder Freeway in College Station. That’s great news for consumers, but also for those in the economic development business since empty box stores along a major highway is not the image you prefer.

On this edition of Is This A Thing?, College Station’s Economic Development Director Natalie Ruiz and Oldham Goodwin Group EVP Clint Oldham talk about how the At Home deal came about, how fragile this deal – and all eco-devo deals, to be honest – really was, and how retail attitudes are no longer cowering from The Amazon Effect.

Total run time: 15:46

  • 00:00 – Show Open
  • 01:20 — Conversation started last summer when Gander Mountain was rumored to close.
  • 02:28 — What happened when CS initially reached out to At Home.
  • 03:40 — Some expansion of this facility will need to happen.
  • 04:30 — When Oldham Goodwin engaged Gander Mountain ownership.
  • 05:25 — Among the challenges of that property.
  • 07:07 — Among the positives of this location.
  • 08:33 — The effectiveness of a CS-OGG partnership to make the deal happen.
  • 09:35 — What people don’t see: How close deals are to NOT happening.
  • 10:50 — Other areas in College Station where OGG is working.
  • 11:30 — Could’ve announced this sooner, but didn’t want to jinx the deal!
  • 12:38 — Conditions this year feel different regarding which retailers are ready to expand.
  • 13:33 — Amazon Effect not as smothering; brick and mortar still matter.
  • 14:30 — Guesses on when At Home will be ready to open? (Spoiler: Nope)

 

Related Links:

 


About the Blogger

Jay Socol (@jaysocol) is in his ninth 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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Podcast: Bridget Russell, College Station’s Pool Shark

By Jay Socol, Public Communications Director

May is Water Safety Month, which obviously highlights the importance of knowing how to swim and how to watch family and friends when at the lake or at the pool.

In this podcast, College Station Pools Supervisor Bridget Russell talks about the challenges she and her staff face, how they’re not to be considered babysitters, and how you can stay safe this summer.

Total run time: 26:01

  • 00:00 — Show open
  • 01:52 — About Adamson Lagoon
  • 02:53 — About Bridget
  • 04:26 — A pool supervisor does…everything.
  • 05:53 — How tough is it to get teens to be lifeguards?
  • 07:30 — Why is Water Safety Month so important?
  • 08:49 — Bridget does lakes and pools WAY different than the rest of us.
  • 09:48 — How people enjoy water has changed: “Flat water” is out.
  • 11:05 — About CS’s two OTHER pools (Hallaran, Thomas)
  • 13:20 — Habits of parents are different now
  • 14:54 — We are NOT babysitters!
  • 16:33 — Teaching adults to swim, too.
  • 18:22 — CS Baby Boomers still love the water
  • 19:40 — Resources for keeping your family safe in and around the water
  • 20:50 — Weird things at the pool (Spoiler alert: POOP)
  • 22:52 — Final thoughts + upcoming events and essential tips.

 

 


About the Blogger

Jay Socol (@jaysocol) is in his ninth 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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Podcast: Chef Wade Barkman dishes on The Republic and Primrose Path

By Jay Socol, Public Communications Director

After 10 years of owning and operating The Republic Steakhouse in College Station, executive chef Wade Barkman is finally building his own restaurants – an updated Republic, plus a brand-new concept that shares a common slab – from the ground up.

In this podcast, Wade talks about life leading up to this point, and what people can expect with these new properties.

Total run time: 32:03

  • 00:00 – Show open.
  • 01:00 – PART ONE: Wade starts from the beginning, including how he found Texas A&M, moved on to culinary school, then California, Vegas (thank you, Aggie Network) and finally back to CS in 2006.
  • 08:20 – Wade finds his restaurant location — home to three or four previous ones. (Can you name them?)
  • 11:42 – The highs and lows of Chimney Hill: Why did Wade stay?
  • 14:30 – How he found a concept — The Republic — that the town needed, even if he wasn’t a steakhouse guy.
  • 17:48 – Why dozens of restaurants have come and gone in 10 years, but The Republic has survived. “I would not wish this business on anyone.”
  • 19:47 – PART TWO: The Republic is being recreated + Primrose Path, a “gastro-pub wine bar.”
  • 21:13 – The differences between the old Republic and the new one.
  • 24:14 – What is Primrose Path going to be?
  • 26:58 – Will you miss the old building, or take anything with you to the new place?
  • 28:07 – How was your development experience with the city of College Station?
  • 30:11 – Sometime in fall 2018: Republic will open, with Primrose Path doing so about a month later.
  • 30:49 – What’s your guilty pleasure in terms of food?
  • 31:49 – Show close.

 

Transcript:

 

 


About the Blogger

Jay Socol (@jaysocol) is in his ninth 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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Is This A Thing? What’s coming to CS and what’s not (Episode 6)

By Jay Socol, Public Communications Director

It’s been a long time since Economic Development Director Natalie Ruiz and I talked rumors versus reality in terms of restaurants, retail, and more. This episode of “Is This a Thing?” covers a lot of ground, including flip-flop scenarios about In-N-Out Burger.

Using examples of Academy and Gander Mountain, Nat also gives great insight into why vacant properties stay empty so long.

Total run time: 44:09

  • 00:00 – Show open.
  • 02:20 – University Drive: Kinds of businesses interested in University Town Center, its challenges; announcements by fall, then construction.
  • 05:45 – Chimney Hill: The Republic Steakhouse and Primrose Path; drive-thru Starbucks looks like a thing; what else has potential; the REAL story about In-N-Out Burger.
  • 10:36 – Burger Mojo update.
  • 11:50 – Century Square: Review of all the recent openings + what else is coming soon. How sustainable are all these businesses?
  • 15:43 – Northgate: Seeing more restaurants and retail interests. Food truck park. Small grocery has to be on the horizon.
  • 18:15 – Texas Avenue: Ace Hardware, Red Lion.
  • 19:15 – Pappadeaux status.
  • 22:05 – Honest talk about Harvey Road.
  • 26:15 – Why “available” buildings aren’t always…available. Example: The old Academy building.
  • 30:15 – Status of the Gander Mountain building.
  • 32:35 – Jones Crossing: Status of H-E-B and more.
  • 33:37 – Chef Tai’s Urban Table (I botch the name).
  • 34:15 – CapRock and Tower Point: Rx Pizza, Casa do Brasil, Ground Shuttle Transit, The Yard, Bottleneck Wine Bar, offices and more.
  • 36:05 – Gringo’s now has a building permit. Walk-On’s moving forward. TaD’s Louisiana Cooking.
  • 37:05 – Stella (from the owners of Harvey Washbanger’s).
  • 38:13 – New car dealerships.
  • 38:40 – Dunkin’ Donuts — anything?
  • 41:00 – Big boxes hit pause on new developments in 2017. Now, “the Amazon Effect” has forced brick-and-mortar brands to be creative with new online partnerships.
  • 43:51 – Show close.

 

Transcript:

 

 


About the Blogger

Jay Socol (@jaysocol) is in his ninth 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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Podcast: Is This A Thing? What you don’t know about Jones Crossing

By Jay Socol, Public Communications Director

Welcome to the very first on-the-road edition of “Is This A Thing?” Economic Development Director Natalie Ruiz and I packed up our recording gear and drove to Austin to talk with Beau Armstrong, chairman and CEO of Stratus Properties, Inc., which is developing the 76-acre tract in College Station at Harvey Mitchell Parkway and Wellborn Road to be known as Jones Crossing.

Armstrong talks about the HEB-anchored development and the kinds of businesses that will (and won’t) appear alongside it. He addresses the significance of the location, the family that’s owned it since the 1800s, and what Stratus’s development experience has been like in College Station.

Total run time: 22:00

  • 00:00 — Show open with Nat and Jay.
  • 03:13 — The history of Beau, Stratus and some development highlights.
  • 06:18 — How did College Station get on your radar? (Spoiler: Lots of HEB love here).
  • 09:10 — Why this location is exceptional.
  • 10:06 — The overall vision for Jones Crossing.
  • 11:17 — What you’ll find here, and what you won’t.
  • 12:55 — Can you reveal business names yet?
  • 14:13 — Working the deal with the Jones family, project timeline.
  • 17:34 — About developing in College Station: Good, bad and ugly? Will you do more?
  • 21:00 — Final thoughts from Armstrong and show close.

More information: jonescrossingtx.com

 

Transcript:

 


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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Podcast: Is This A Thing? Dallis family’s Burger Mojo

By Jay Socol, Public Communications Director

Talk about a down-and-dirty episode…

Economic Development Director Natalie Ruiz and I met after hours in our neighborhood – using a portable recorder – to talk about a new restaurant concept coming to College Station.

It’s called Burger Mojo and is the latest restaurant venture for the Dallis family, which is best known for Cafe Eccell and La Bodega.

“We are very excited to be able to develop this class A location at the main crossroads of our community,” Costa Dallis said. “To be neighbors with both the brand new Embassy Suites Hotel, as well as such a strong local brand as Aggieland Outfitters, is an opportunity we count ourselves fortunate to have.”

Natalie explains what the Dallis family has in mind, where it will go, and how that business will fit into its surroundings.

Total run time: 4:20

 

Podcast Archive

 


About the Blogger

Jay Socol (@jaysocol) is in his ninth 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 serves as president of the Texas Association of Municipal Information Officers.


 

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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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Podcast: Couch on the roof, goat in the driveway — the world of Code Supervisor Julie Caler

By Jay Socol, Public Communications Director

College Station Code Enforcement Supervisor Julie Caler makes her first appearance on the podcast and explains how she and her crew work to keep the city looking good. Sometimes, that means dealing with some odd or difficult situations.

In this episode, we cover topics ranging from parking and trash violations to hoarders and goats.

Total run time: 24:30
00:00 — Show open.
00:45 — What exactly do you and your staff do?
02:07 — Code used to be proactive, then reactive — now what are you?
03:53 — Most-common code issues in College Station?
04:45 — Why no parking in the grass?
06:25 — Most-egregious issues related to trash?
08:25 — How much of a problem is parking in yards?
09:23 — What are your Texas A&M home football game days like?
10:28 — Open storage is…fun? Bedroom suites on the roof??
13:00 — What about issues in back yards?
14:25 — Boats, trailers and RVs.
14:52 — Weeds and grass.
16:33 — Dealing with hoarders.
20:50 — Goats?
22:30 — Jay gives Julie a pop-quiz.
23:25 — Show close.

 

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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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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Podcast: Heart of local aquatics moves on after 30 years

By Jay Socol, Public Communications Director

This edition of the podcast is one where our guest is being interviewed for the very first time — but we’re actually saying goodbye.

Vera Solis served as College Station’s pools supervisor for 30 years. In this interview — recorded on her next to last day with the city — Vera talked about how she approached the profession, her legacy, where College Station could use another pool, and what her next adventure is all about.

Run time: 23:00

  • 00:00 – Opening comments.
  • 00:40 – Her start with College Station and in the aquatics industry.
  • 02:26 – Water activities were part of her own childhood.
  • 03:40 – What College Station Aquatics looked like in the mid-1980s.
  • 05:40 – How did you set out to change things?
  • 08:20 – Any changes in how you do what you do?
  • 09:50 – Will we always have public pools?
  • 12:20 – About the safety of College Station pools.
  • 14:00 – Proudest moments from the past 30 years.
  • 16:00 – Other highlights.
  • 16:50 – What did you NOT accomplish that you hope the next person does? (spoiler: establish another pool…)
  • 17:50 – What else would be nice? (yet another spoiler: water park)
  • 19:35 – What’s your legacy?
  • 20:15 – You’re now going to do what?
  • 21:30 – Final thoughts.

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.

 

Podcast Archive


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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Podcast: The future of Bush/Wellborn and why your opinion matters

By Jay Socol, Public Communications Director

In this edition of the College Station podcast, Texas A&M Transportation Institute Research Fellow Dr. Tim Lomax takes us through what will be one of the most impactful transportation projects ever planned for College Station: a proposed three-tier underpass at the intersection of George Bush Drive and Wellborn Road.

While the project is still a few years away, Lomax already is part of a team that’s genuinely seeking citizen feedback about things like construction schedules and duration of closures.

Lomax explains how citizens can express opinions and concerns that could ultimately influence Texas Department of Transportation designs and plans for the intersection.

  • 01:13 – Project might begin in 2022, after widening of FM2818
  • 02:58 – What can or should be done at Bush/Wellborn?
  • 05:29 – What the intersection could look like in the future
  • 09:08 – Digging three stories down? Sounds complicated…
  • 11:10 – What citizens are being asked to do right now. 24/7 construction? Phased work?
  • 15:00 – People seem to want it done FAST (duh)
  • 19:00 – What about traffic control and cut-throughs during construction?
  • 20:16 – Talks with Texas A&M about possible changes to worker hours, class hours, classroom locations, parking locations, etc.
  • 21:35 – Are special design elements possible?
  • 23:47 – Is the proposed design already in use in some other city?
  • 25:02 – Funding not yet identified. Estimated cost: $40 million+
  • 26:48 – What surprises lurk three stories below ground?
  • 28:00 – How can people voice opinions or concerns?
  • 31:13 – BONUS COMMENT: Lomax avoids left turns

Related Links:

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.

 


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.

 


 

Podcast Archive

 

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Podcast: Why does Mayor Mooney want to walk your neighborhood?

By Jay Socol, Public Communications Director

Mayor Karl Mooney has a new way to connect with citizens: a monthly “Walk With the Mayor.” In this episode of the city podcast, Mayor Mooney said he especially wants to connect with residents who may not feel comfortable coming to city hall but still have issues or concerns they want the mayor to see and understand.

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.

Podcast Archive


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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Podcast: Who says College Station has 109,857 residents?

By Jay Socol, Public Communications Director

Senior Planner Jessica Bullock was born and raised in Boston, attended school in Philadelphia, and experienced an awakening that led her to become a city planner — a fascinating story.

Among Jessica’s responsibilities: Every month, she calculates College Station’s estimated population. How? And is she even qualified to do it? Jessica answered those questions and more in this edition of the podcast.

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

 

Podcast Archive


SocolAbout the Author

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. He’s a native of Breckenridge.


 

If you found value in this blog post, please share it with your social network and friends!