American Furniture Warehouse

Dozens of workers help construct American Furniture Warehouse along the east side of I-45 in Webster next to TopGolf on Tuesday. The facility will be 355,000-square-feet.

If Wahls could talk: A juicy rumor is making the rounds that the famous Wahlberg family wanted to open a Wahlburgers restaurant in League City, but couldn’t come to terms with the owner of a retail center.

The unnamed retail center owner is reported to have made demands the Wahlberg family was unwilling to meet.

Wahlburgers is a casual dining burger restaurant and bar owned by Chef Paul Wahlberg in partnership with two of his brothers, actors Donnie and Mark. Word has it the retail center owner wanted members of the Wahlberg family to commit to four yearly League City appearances, while they wanted to commit to two.

The Wahlburgers chain, with nearly 30 restaurants, is entering the Texas market with plans for eateries in the Austin and the Houston area, according to its website.

The chain is the subject of an A&E reality TV series, “Wahlburgers.”

Officials with the Hingham, Massachusetts, corporate offices did not respond to media inquiries. Stay tuned.

Smoke signals: Cigar lovers have a new venue. Havana Bay Cigar Bar has opened at 624 Marina Bay Drive in Clear Lake Shores. The venue features a full bar, leather chairs, a walk-in humidor and large waterfront patio.

Bear hug: What was once just a fuzzy restaurant rumor is real. Redding, California-based restaurant Black Bear Diner has submitted plans to League City officials for a restaurant in Pinnacle Park, Interstate 45 and Big League Dreams Parkway.

Known for serving sizable portions of such fare as chicken fried steak, meatloaf, pot roast, pies and more, Black Bear Diner intends to move into the space formerly occupied by Tilted Kilt Pub & Eatery. Landlord Pinnacle Alliance Fund in April last year posted a “Notice of Lockout,” citing Tilted Kilt’s failure to pay rent as reason the locks had been changed. No word on a Black Bear Diner opening date. Stay tuned.

Mailbag: An inquiring reader emailed: “Do you know what is going on next to TopGolf? We had been hearing of an outdoor music venue, but the buildings going up don’t reflect that.”

Answer: Construction at 21404 Interstate 45 in Webster, next to TopGolf, will yield a 355,000-square-foot American Furniture Warehouse along the east side of I-45, just south of the NASA Bypass. The new facility is scheduled to open in late August.

In late 2017, Colorado-based American Furniture Warehouse announced it planned to buy about 23 acres for a retail showroom, distribution center and warehouse. When it opens for business, it will be with about 350 full-time employees, the Bay Area Houston Economic Partnership has said. The investment value, which includes land, development and construction costs, is about $50 million, officials have reported.

American Furniture Warehouse, Academy Sports + Outdoors and TopGolf are among the retail anchors in the southeast quadrant for Webster’s Destination Development, which eventually will include retail, dining, entertainment and hospitality operations, said Betsy Giusto, economic development director for the city.

Crews have cleared, filled and graded for future development at the property.

Initially, there were discussions about an amphitheater, but those were just part of many old conceptual plans, Giusto said.

“As with all major projects, Webster’s Destination Development continuously evolves and is tenant-driven,” Giusto said. “Plans are underway to attract a number of phenomenal retail, dining, entertainment and hospitality venues.” Stay tuned.

Drive-in debut: The long-awaited Checkers & Rally’s restaurant in Webster opened in early May on the corner of NASA Parkway and Sarah Deel Drive. Franchisee Humza Fareed owns the Webster restaurant, which marks the 23rd Checkers & Rally’s in the Houston market.

The Tampa, Florida-based chain is bullish on the Houston-area market, with 13 more openings in the pipeline this years. Officials with the chain calculate there’s room for more than 190 restaurants in the market. Checkers & Rally’s is known for such fare as burgers, hot dogs, wings and more.

 Laura Elder: 409-683-5248; laura.elder@galvnews.com

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