GALVESTON ISLAND, Texas (June 8, 2009) – In 1976 Cynthia and George Mitchell bought the T. Jefferson League Building. This was the first of more than 20 buildings purchased or built by the Mitchells in what had become an abandoned and blighted downtown waterfront. Today, thanks to their efforts and those of the Galveston Historical Foundation, Galveston’s downtown is recognized as a National Historic Landmark District by the National Park Service. Now thirty-two years later, Mitchell Historic Properties (MHP) is again leading the effort to rehabilitate the historic district in the aftermath of Hurricane Ike which struck Galveston on Sept. 13, 2008.
Immediately following Hurricane Ike, MHP launched a massive cleanup and restoration program in downtown Galveston. Construction is now complete in nearly all of its downtown buildings which, in total, encompass approximately one-fourth of the developed buildings in The Strand. Current estimates put the cost of disaster relief, cleanup and building renovation at more than $24 million on more than 20 buildings.
All of the hotels that are part of Mitchell Historic Properties have reopened. Hotel Galvez reopened in October 2008, Harbor House Hotel at Pier 21 reopened in February 2009 and The Tremont House reopened on June 1, 2009. The Spa at the Hotel Galvez will reopen in June 2009.
As of June 5, the following tenants have reopened: Gracie’s, Fisherman’s Wharf, Pier 21 Theater, Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory, Starbucks Coffee, Tina’s Gifts and Clothing, The Admiralty Marine Model Gallery and Willie G’s Restaurant. The new Olympia The Grill at Pier 21 opened to the public on June 1 and Luigi’s Ristorante Italiano will reopen on June 11. Fuddruckers, Primitive African Art Gallery, and Santa Fe Trail Indian Jewelry will reopen soon. MHP also expects new tenants Nestl Toll House Caf and Thomas Kinkade Art Gallery as well as some additional tenants to open soon. Overall, including MHP tenants, approximately 75 percent of downtown businesses have reopened.
In addition to its restoration efforts in downtown Galveston, MHP has partnered with Galveston Island Convention & Visitors Bureau and the Historic Downtown Galveston Partnership to resume Movie Nite on The Strand on the first
Saturdays of the month (March – October) and added Music Nite on The Strand on the third Saturdays (May – October). Both events are held at Saengerfest Park, 23rd and Strand.
MHP oversees Galveston properties owned by Cynthia and George Mitchell and the Mitchell family, including its commercial and residential properties located downtown. During the past 30 years, the Mitchells have invested more than $125 million in rehabilitating historic properties in The Strand National Historic Landmark District. For more information, call (409)763-5806 or visit www.MitchellHistoricProperties.com