Historic buildings getting facelift

Trevino wants to restore downtown buildings to former glory

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Credit Jeff Trevino’s love of Dairy Queen Blizzards for his investment in downtown Sealy.

The avid cyclist and triathlete frequently stopped at the Dairy Queen store in Sealy, which eventually led him to look around and fall in love with the historic downtown. The Houston-based real estate agent purchased the historic Texas Theater on Main Street in February and two months later acquired two more buildings around the corner on Fowlkes Street.

“It’s really a gemstone in my eyes and I can’t wait to polish it up and get it looking as best I can,” he said of the Texas.

Trevino received his real estate license 18 years ago and a mentor noted he was a natural at it.

“He suggested that when I found what I thought was a fair deal with an upside to start buying real estate,” Trevino said.

He did just that. He bought some old buildings in Houston and renovated them. Today they house thriving business tenants. They’re doing so well, in fact, that someone made him an offer for two of them that he couldn’t turn down.

“Rather than re-invest in Houston I wanted to be in the outskirts,” he said.

It was during one of his stops in Sealy that the Texas Theater caught his eye.

“I liked it. It was in decent shape. It needs some repairs but I’m willing to do it,” he said.

Trevino soon discovered that the two buildings of the Sealy Superette on Fowlkes Street were for sale by an owner eager to unload them.

“To say that he was difficult to work with was an understatement,” Trevino said. “He didn’t have a kind word to say about Sealy.”

On the contrary, Trevino said he has found people in Sealy to be, “very kind, genuine and helpful.”

“This makes it easier for me to come in and invest,” he said.

Although Trevino still lives in Houston, he wants people in Sealy to know that he is here to be a part of the community.

“I’ve heard that people think I’m buying the buildings to flip ’em, and that’s not my intent,” he said.

He has also heard that he plans to re-open the Superette.

“That’s not going to happen,” he said. “I do not intend to run a convenience store.”

He said he intends to be a landlord. His plan for the two Fowlkes Street buildings is to clean them up and lease them, but not to just anyone. He doesn’t want to see a smoke shop or tattoo parlor go in.

“I want to contribute to the downtown. I want to contribute to the wholesomeness of downtown,” he said.

He envisions something like a bakeshop, yoga studio, antique mall, or a gymnastics studio going into the buildings. Upstairs, he plans to refurbish and restore the old apartment.

“This is why I bought the building,” he said. “This is a really neat space. It overlooks Fowlkes Street and the town square.”

He plans to lease it out as an Airbnb. That gives him the opportunity to use it as a home away from home whenever he comes to Sealy. In the meantime, he has a lot of cleaning and restoring to do to all the buildings. When he purchased the Superette, the former owner left all the inventory and fixtures. Trevino has been donating what he can to food banks and other charitable organizations. Other remaining items are for sale or donation.

As for the Texas, it is already occupied, as are the three apartments above it. In the short term, he plans to redo the front of the building by restoring the neon lights and replacing the rotten wood in the canopy.

“I’m trying to find pictures of it from the ’50s and ’60s,” he said. “I want to paint it back in its original colors. I want to take it back as original as I can.”

He said he wants his buildings to be restored to their former glory and to contribute to the historic nature of downtown.

“I appreciate old stuff,” he said. “I love old cars and old buildings.”

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