Olin rendering

This is what the 62,500-square-foot building along Highway 332 should look like after Olin completes its Technology and Administration Center, according to the company. Construction is underway and should be complete by the summer.

Olin Corp. is turning the old Randall’s building at 604 Highway 332 in Lake Jackson into administrative offices, as I reported on the first day of this year.

The company recently shared more details about this project and it sounds really exciting. Construction is underway to turn the building into Olin’s Technology and Administration Center, according to the news release, and it will serve as the main building for Olin’s Texas operations.

“We have a deep connection with and commitment to Brazoria County and its communities,” Texas Manufacturing Director Bridget Wood-Turner said in the release. “We wanted to find an existing building we could breathe new life into, and we recognized that potential in this location for Olin and the entire community. This new Technology and Administration Center reinforces our commitment to the area.”

The location will consolidate employees — 200 from seven area offices — and increase efficiencies and team collaboration, according to the company.

The 62,500-square-foot building should open for employees this summer, the release states. It will have an open floor plan and interior glass walls to promote a collaborative work environment. Large windows around the building will help them utilize natural light and give employees a nice view.

“The remodeled site will also include a state-of-the-art industrial design training hall that can seat 130 people,” the release states. “The location is large enough to accommodate company growth and future investment in the community.”

It’s great to see Olin making another investment in the Brazosport area. Some fear radiated after Olin’s announcement in December it would permanently close a 230,000-ton chlor-alkali plant and a vinylidene chloride facility by the end of 2020, but that decision should result in no job loss and represents less than 5 percent of Olin’s capacity in Freeport.

This Lake Jackson investment shows Olin, the third-largest employer in Brazoria County with 1,200 employees in Freeport, is here to be a longtime partner of the community.

By the way, there’s still almost an acre of commercial land for sale at the property. Call St. Ives Realty at 972-987-8981 for information on that.

Carta Valley opening second shop

The West Columbia store known for its boutique, gift, hunting and fishing merchandise is opening a second location in downtown Lake Jackson, owner Sara Autenrieth told me.

Carta Valley Market has been operating at 229 E. Brazos Ave. in West Columbia for four years. It is not Sara and husband Josh Autenrieth’s first business, but it is their first retail storefront, she said.

It’s been going great in West Columbia and they get a lot of own-of-town traffic with the location right along Highway 35, she said.

The new store at 211 Parking Way will be able to serve even more customers who aren’t able to make the half-hour trek West of the Brazos.

“We definitely want to give Lake Jackson what they’re asking for,” Autenrieth said.

An opening date has yet to be set as the Autenreiths work with Lake Jackson on permitting, inspections and other requirements.

But along with retail, the store will have a “fun, eclectic vibe” and more details she is keeping under her hat for now. She wants to make sure everything is perfectly in place before giving all the information away, and I think we can all respect that.

“We want to get open as soon as possible, but do it the right way,” Autenrieth said.

H-E-B to modify parking lot

H-E-B made a grand effort to leave some beautiful trees in its parking lot when it was built at 97 Oyster Creek Drive, Lake Jackson.

Unfortunately, a disease killed several trees and required them to be chopped down. The “folks” from H-E-B said they plan to straighten out some of the parking lot, which will lead to more spots, City Manager Bill Yenne said.

If anyone has been to Lake Jackson’s H-E-B on Saturday, you know they have awesome samples. You also know that you had to walk a long distance to get them.

I’ll be glad to have a few more spots, although I join my fellow tree-lovers in mourning.

Speaking of H-E-B, I have to brag on Beer and Wine Manager Ken Lipscomb. I was in the store last Sunday and without introducing myself, I told Ken they used to have a particular beer I love. It’s Buffalo Bayou’s Wake ‘N Bake, named for being a blonde beer with coffee in it.

Ken said he’d see what he could do. A few days later, it was there on the shelf and I got to enjoy it again.

The friend with me that Sunday had come down from The Woodlands to join me for brunch and noted it was “such a small-town thing” that I asked Ken to stock this beer. I agree that it is, and it’s great to live in one.

Maddy McCarty, assistant managing editor for The Facts, writes The Scoop every Wednesday in The Facts. If you hear a good rumor, pass it along and we’ll find out if there is any truth to it. Contact Maddy at 979-237-0151 or madison.mccarty@thefacts.com.

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