Monday, September 19, 2016

Goodbye to 711 University, So Long to the BB&T...

Since I didn't get a picture of the bank before it became a big hole in the ground, we'll have to do with this, a picture from Google.

Today this is yet another student housing residential tower, known as Aspire College Station with 16 stories (including parking levels) and 800 beds but when I originally added this article in 2016 (here's the old page before I reworked it) it was the recently-demolished BB&T bank (hence the pun title). The chronology of the main bank building goes as such:

1962: College Station State Bank relocates to this building from a previous location.
1963: The name is changed to University National Bank.
1990: After a long run as University National Bank, it is acquired by Don Adam to become First American Bank (officially acquired that year)
2005: Citigroup acquires the bank chain, rebranded to Citibank
2014: BB&T purchases 41 Citibank branches including this one and rebrands them.
2016: BB&T relocates to The Rise at Northgate; building torn down, thus beginning and ending its life with relocation.

There was a second adjacent space (707 University Drive) which was a two-story office building with a small footprint. My records show this was used for non-bank space as early as 1974 (with the Provident Mutual Life Insurance Co.) and my 1989 phone book mentions "The Personal Computer Store" (with the ad mentioning it was "since 1984"). This became MicroAge by 1993, and starting in 1999 moved out to their current home (now known as Avinext) on East University Drive. I don't think anything has occupied the space since.

Because of the relative underuse of the space, 711 University was also where food trucks congregated (or near the now-defunct Notes-N-Quotes next door). Since I graduated back in 2014, I can't list all the more recent food trucks and trailers there, though here are a few I remember:

Wafology - Seen spring 2014, this was a waffle food truck which had chicken and waffles and a few others. The waffles weren't great, they were more of the standard "using pancake batter in a waffle iron" that I've seen everywhere except for home cooking. I think it returned for fall 2014. It is now known as MESS Waffles, but it doesn't even involve a food truck anymore, they opened a permanent location at Century Square.

Vittles - This was seen summer 2014. It was a trailer operated by Gumby's serving sno-cones, pizza rolls, and chicken legs (the latter two obviously prepared off-site).

Chef Tai's Mobile Bistro - Moved inside campus due to a contract.

Southern Comfort Road Trip - The old Village Foods food truck which in fall 2013, was the new home of Hebert's Cajun Food dishes. Their already-borderline prices had gone up, but it still felt like it was putting the universe one step closer to being back in balance. Sadly it didn't last.

Mr. Chinese Burger - I wanted to like it, but the burgers I had tended to be cold..and they were shut down by the health department at least once.They sold pulled pork on chewy steamed buns.

When the tower was built a few years later, BB&T moved back in and by 2019 it had Fajita Pete's, Which Wich, and All Phone Toys, the last one occupying a small suite facing Church Avenue. Unfortunately, both Fajita Pete's and Which Wich have closed, with Fajita Pete's closing in 2021 and Which Wich closing in late 2023. (Also during this time, BB&T rebranded to Truist, following a merger with SunTrust out of Atlanta). On April 20, 2024, Waco viral hit Roni's Mac Bar opened in Suite 200 (the former Which Wich...and Roni's reused much of their fixtures). It is the first branch location and the first not to be connected to a food hall, which the original is.

UPDATE 04-21-24: Full rewrite was done.
UPDATE 04-24-2024: Should've also mentioned Korean chicken chain bb.q Chicken opened in fall 2023 to replace Fajita Pete's.