Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Ramada Aggieland Inn

Doesn't look so bad, does it? Yeah, well you haven't gotten close to it.

Opening in summer 1974 as the Aggieland Inn (named after a long-defunct hotel on campus, which had long been functionally replaced by the MSC and gone for many years), this hotel was initially successful with its restaurant ("Whistle Stop") but in the mid-1980s renamed to Aggieland Hotel shortly before being the Ramada Aggieland Inn by 1988 after Ramada pulled its name from the bankrupt tower. It renamed to Ramada Inn (like the former tower), then simply "Ramada".

Football program, 1988-1989

Even before losing the name, the Ramada had been going on a downhill trend for years, there's a story about how the restaurant accidentally(?) gave food poisoning to the Longhorn football team circa '99, and other minor stories of what happened there. Sometime around 2006 or 2007, a new Ramada hotel began to be built on the bypass behind The Home Depot, and the name would be pulled. Since the economy was good at the time, an ambitious plan evolved to convert the Ramada Inn into an upscale student housing and retail complex.

Here's some exclusive scans from the defunct AbouTown Press December 2007 issue. Obviously, this all never happened. Somewhere during this whole process (the widening of Texas Avenue was well underway at this time), the economy tanked and rather than a big redevelopment, the hotel renamed to "Aggieland Inn" (the original name), just like how the Clarion across the street became "College Station Inn". I loved how the website (at AggielandInn.com, but it's down) called itself a "2.0-star property" as if it was something to be proud of, which would've been like someone with a "Proud Parent of a C Student" unironically.

Unlike the 1970s incarnation, the "new" Aggieland Inn was a no-name junk hotel that received miserable reviews. The hotel shut down in Aggieland Inn closed for good in September 2011 just before the football season.

In 2013, it got a repaint and was rumored to reopen for the fall, but it never did. Here's a Google Maps 45° view of the hotel before the repaint.

In addition to the new photo at the top of the page, in April 2015, I made a visit to snap some more pictures. However, there were lots of No Trespassing signs in the area, and I wasn't going to get arrested for some semi-defunct blog I was just updating, so here's one more shot of the hotel (I didn't get too close to the lobby part, unfortunately).

5/15/17 - Since updating this article a few years ago much has changed. The pool out front has been demolished for a new lobby and the peaked roof removed for the new incarnation of the hotel, TRYP by Wyndham. Unfortunately, the hotel (with a new address of 1508 Texas Avenue S.) is not open yet, despite signage since August.

The lobby and restaurant space of the old Aggieland Inn was gutted and is now a strip mall. I don't have a picture yet but tenants are as follows:

Ste. 100 - Urban Bricks Pizza Co. (open May 2017)
Ste. 200 - Wayback Burgers (opened September 2016?)
Ste. 300 -
Ste. 400 -
Ste. 500 - SignatureCare Emergency Center (opened 2016)

Monday, May 30, 2011

New Construction and Old

In recent trips and what I've heard, here's what's new:

- Holleman Drive S. from Dowling to Saddle is almost complete. All signage is up (including a permanent stop sign with Saddle Ln. marked)
- The Cottages of College Station is being built out near Holleman. Interestingly, where they tore out the sidewalk is on the original Holleman plan. The trees not cut down will likely be used for commercial space. It goes back to N. Dowling Road, and if it's anything like another development, Cottages of Baton Rouge, it will be huge.
- A large swath of trees have been cut down at Marion Pugh and Holleman, destroying the visual block between Wellborn and Marion Pugh and dramatically changing the feel of the area. It's the last piece of land on Marion Pugh being developed (except for the old Luther St. W. strip), and will almost certainly be student apartments.
- A pad on the corner of Harvey Mitchell and 2818 Holleman is being developed. Hopefully it's fast food.
- Ace Hardware's sign is gone. Guess it won't be reopening after all...
- At the mall, Command Performance is gone. Image has replaced Abercrombie & Fitch. Gap is vacant, however.
- Reportedly, on the corner of FM 485 and Highway 6 in Hearne, a combo gas station/McDonald's is being built. The long yield lanes are closed.
- Around that area, I remember seeing this closed 1970s style gas station torn down circa 2008. It was groovy, brown colored with red, orange, and yellow stripes. I should've gotten a picture.
- Thomas Moore Feed is open where Black Cat/Top Dog was. They substantially changed it, including replacing the simple overhang with a red awning around the main building. (I was building it at Simtropolis)
- When did The Bounce! close? I suspected it couldn't stay open long.

Monday, May 23, 2011

1200 East Villa Maria: Arches of Architectural Awesomeness

This post has been cut from the Index as of 2015. It still remains online.

1200 E. Villa Maria Road

I remember passing by this on Villa Maria in fall 2010 to find they were getting rid of these groovy mid-mod arches.

This is what it looks like today (Google Street View images for both, sorry)

Does anyone know exactly what this opened as?