An Update On The Strand's Comeback, From George Mitchell

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George Mitchell is pretty much the guy who saved Downtown Galveston and the Strand area as it was slowly deteriorating into oblivion; now he's leading the efforts to bring it back from Ike.

Today he issued an upbeat assessment of where things stand and where they'll be going.

The 24 historical buildings owned by Mitchell Historic Properties sustained about $24 million in damages; the first floors of most of them will have to be completely redone.

But things are slowly getting back on track, and momentum seems to be gathering.

Among the national businesses that will be returning, Mitchell says, are Bass, Fuddruckers, IZOD, Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory and Van Heusen. Starbucks and Willie G's have already reopened.

Local businesses committed to coming back include Gracie's, Luigi's Ristorante Italiano, Santa Fe Trail, Tina's, and The Admiralty Marine Model Gallery.

The goal is for most of the MHP tenants to reopen within 90 days, Mitchell says. The Tremont House and Harbor House will reopen "in the spring."

"We are confident in the future of Galveston. And though this is a painful setback, we feel a vibrant downtown is the key to a successful city-wide recovery," says Mitchell. "So we are determined to do our part and hope -- through our resolve -- to inspire others. In the near future, all our efforts will be rewarded."

-- Richard Connelly

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