Raylene Lewis

Realtor®

Raylene Lewis is a happily married Realtor. Her family is comprised of a loving husband, two children, a 5 year old boy and a 3 year old girl, 2 dogs, and a Parrot. Raylene has been selling realestate for the last 8 years with Century 21 and sold 123 property units in 2008. Raylene loves being a Realtor and a Mommy, and as such, she is constantly on a mission to get things done!

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Call: 979-218-2235

Raylene Lewis

Realtor®

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Community Events Category

New College Station High School

This fall, the new College Station High School opens its doors to freshmen and sophomores. The expected number of freshmen and sophomore students at the new high school is between 650 and 725. This will make it the size of an average 3A high school. A grade will be added to the school each year until August 2014 when it will incorporate all four high school grades. The first graduating class from the new school will be the students who start this year as sophomores, the graduating class of 2015.

The high school will offer junior and senior level courses for the freshmen and sophomore students who are interested and qualified to take upper level courses. Advanced students needing certain courses will have those courses offered to them. For example, if a freshman or sophomore needs to take Spanish 4 or 5, the course will be available. In order for elective courses to be offered, a minimum student enrollment must be met, as is the case at A&M Consolidated High School. College Station High School will also offer Pre AP, Honors and AP courses to its students.

In addition to making as many courses as possible available to its students, College Station High School has set a high standard for its staff. Arrangements have been made to ensure that the new high school teachers and staff are equally matched with those at A&M Consolidated High School. Because Read the rest of this entry »

Posted by Susan Hilton | Discussion: 6 Comments »

?Aggie Athletes Represent Texas A&M University in the 2012 London Olympics

There has been plenty of excitement over the recent launch of the 2012 London Olympics. Over one billion people worldwide tuned in to watch the opening ceremonies in London on Friday, July 27th and even more are eager to watch the famous match ups of various athletes in the diverse Olympic competitions. However, there is a secondary enthusiasm for the start of these games in College Station, Texas. Thanks to the outstanding athletic programs at Texas A&M University, 23 Aggie athletes will be competing in various sports with several associated personal appearing in coaching positions, reporting, as well as to simply show support for the students representing such a great institution.

The twenty-three Aggie athletes that will be appearing in the London Olympics will be representing fourteen different nations. Among the list are Canada, Australia, Mexico, Jamaica, and the Bahamas: along with Estonia, Grenada, Trinidad & Tobago, Tonga, the US Virgin Islands, Lithuania, Croatia, and Zambia.

Fifteen of the twenty-three Aggies are women, outnumbering their Aggie male Olympians by almost twice as many. This reflects a national trend, as this is the first Olympics ever that the number of female Olympic athletes have outnumbered the population of the male athletes. However, Texas A&M’s proportion most likely has more to do with A&M’s outstanding women’s swimming and diving Read the rest of this entry »

Posted by Susan Hilton | Discussion: 2 Comments »

The Spark of Rivalry: Texas A&M in the Southeastern Conference Vs LSU Tigers

In January, 2011, Texas A&M faced down the LSU Tigers in the 75th Cotton Bowl Classic. This date sparked an incessant competition between two nationally recognized universities, and likely served as a primary influence for Texas A&M’s decision to join the Southeastern Conference (SEC).

On June 7th, 2012, Former Coach Jackie Sherrill came forward and announced that Texas A&M and LSU could become a featured Thanksgiving football game. This event would only further in solidifying the recently developed competitive enmity, perhaps eventually filling the hole left by the Texas A&M/Texas rivalry. It would also serve as an opportunity for A&M to assimilate smoothly into the SEC, establishing themselves as a serious competitor within the division capable of bringing in revenue and publicity.

Football within the SEC, while the primary reason for Texas A&M’s transference to the SEC, is hardly the only aspect of comparison between universities and rarely serves as a measure of a University’s repute. So, in the spirit of a potential rivalry, an assessment of Texas A&M and LSU’s university backgrounds is in order.

The history of the University of Texas A&M is most likely familiar with any and all university Read the rest of this entry »

Posted by Susan Hilton | Discussion: 30 Comments »

After the Debris Falls: Implosion of the University Plaza Hotel in College Station, Texas

When I woke up on Thursday, May 24th, to watch the University Plaza Hotel implosion, I had expected to drive up to the Bonfire Memorial on Texas A&M Campus. There I would find a remote hill that overlooked the campus’ border tree-line so I could see as much of the building as possible without being caught in the crowds. Things didn’t work out how I had planned.

The streets were blocked off. Traffic was insane. And all of Bryan, College Station had woken up that hour earlier to watch the exciting spectacle. Thousands of city residents lined Texas Avenue, flooded the fields of the Bonfire Memorial, piled upon the beds of pick-ups and roofs of distant houses. Entire families had arrived to watch. I witnessed parents being dragged by excited children, hardly aware of the time or the reason they had driven all this way to fight through the crowd. Students leapt into trees for a better view (only to return to land, discovering the flourishing leaves completely impeded their vision). Droves of individuals, all ages and ethnicities, were flowing forward, as if being pulled to the base of that sight surrounding the Plaza Hotel. And then right at 6:30am, the crowds came to a halt. Everyone found their respective position, and all eyes gazed up. Nobody wanted to miss the spectacle set to start right at that moment.

Of course when 6:42 rolled around I was actually watching a triad of kids pushing and tackling one another in the manicured grass, rooting for the smaller child in a dragon-flame black hoodie. Then the cannon shot ripped through the air like victory at Kyle Field. It echoed along the silent, expectant streets of College Station, grabbing the attention of every onlooker. Then another explosion, flashing sparks of light and puffs of debris shooting out along the length of the buildings core. And the whole thing came crashing down.

[youtube width=”425″ height=”344″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zKrm2Q6XwNw[/youtube]

It almost looked like dominos set horizontally, collapsing upon one another from one end to the next. The explosion ripped through, and the left side of the structure simply sagged, sending a rippling collapse along the length of its frame. A tower on the right seemed to linger, obdurate, but then receded into the rising haze of dust. And then it was over. Billowing clouds of debris rose steadily into the air, reaching up like wings on either side of where the structure had stood, and then drifting slowly with the morning breeze. A mad rush to beat the traffic ensued immediately after.

Driving by the site thirteen hours later would show little evidence of a recent demolition. You might see a thin, black fence lining the corner of Texas Avenue and University Drive, a large poster reading “Precision Demolition” stretched across its frame. As you passed the length of University, through the cracks of buildings and construction machines you might glimpse a pile of concrete rubble about two stories tall, weighing heavily on the earth. No outside clutter, no stray blocks of concrete littering the surrounding streets or sidewalks. Just a clean, perfectly orchestrated  implosion, designed by none other than College Station’s own civil engineers.

So what happens next?

First of all, the engineers are going to have to remove all demolished materials and debris, amounting to over 70,000 tons. Fortunately, this is not going to end up as wasteful as might be expected. Veronica Morgan, a leading Engineer of the Plaza Hotel demolition project, was quoted saying, “It’s not going to the landfill. It is not all garbage.” In fact, the materials from the Plaza Hotel are intended to be recycled. And that same concrete and asphalt is going to be used right here, in the Bryan, College Station area.

The materials are being sent to Brazos Paving, Inc. who plans to use the concrete and asphalt into usable road materials, after being finely crushed. So the same concrete that served as the walls and frame of the building which blemished your beautiful city skyline might now be the very material you drive over every day commuting to work along Highway 21(or at least once in awhile when you make a trip to Austin). Appropriate? I’d say so.

Civil Engineer Veronica Morgan informed the public that it might take a few weeks to remove the material from the implosion. However, there appears to be no rush since the future plans for this site of prime city real estate is still unclear. KBTX stated simply that the demolition is making way for “a new development at Texas Avenue and University Drive.” Similar ambiguous accounts make it clear that the future for this potentially thriving business location has not been released: but city officials have made clear their priority of converting this pivotal location to a development with promising economic returns. There has been speculation of student housing, a food and business market area, as well as additional bars or nightclubs. Whatever the future holds, let us hope the developers will find greater success than the locations previous owner.

PS – Susan Hilton is Bryan College Station, Texas’ real estate specialist in foreclosure sales and real estate agent career building so if you need help – CALL! 979-219-3970

 

Posted by Susan Hilton | Discussion: No Comments »

Demolition and Renewal: a History of the Plaza Hotel in College Station

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Almost every Bryan/College Station resident would admit to driving past the abandoned Plaza Hotel occasionally in their weekly routine, if not daily. The seventeen story concrete shell stands at the intersection of Texas Avenue and University Drive, arguably the two busiest streets in the whole city. And after 6:30am on Thursday, May 24th 2012, this once pivotal structure will be reduced to nothing more than a pile of shattered concrete and useless rubble.

If you’ve driven through the city of College Station in the past few weeks, it’s likely that you’ve noticed the unusual vacancy of the Plaza Hotel. Not that you would be expected to notice a parking lot or diminished business: instead, it is the actual building itself which you would’ve noticed. The windows of various apartments and hotel rooms appear to almost open up to the sky behind the structure. I myself have viewed this spectacle on a few sunset evenings, when the sky behind the Plaza Hotel was painted with the various colors of sunset, the different tones of orange, pink, or Easter purple leaking through the hollowed frame of the seventeen story structure. It’s more than evident then, peering up through the cracks in the concrete frame, to understand how completely abandoned the Plaza Hotel had become. And to hear now that the building will be imploded this upcoming Thursday, you might not be entirely surprised.

But how did this pivotal structure, the hotel that has had such a powerful presence in the history of our growing city, come to such an abrupt end? In such instances as this, it is sometimes important to understand the buildings past in order to appreciate the present circumstances.

What we know today as the Plaza Hotel actually began as a Ramada Inn, the first foundations of which were laid in the late 1950s. Joe Ferreri, the constructor of the Ramada Inn, was approached in the 1950s by Earl Rudder of Texas A&M. Attracted to Ferreri’s success as a drive-inn restaurant owner, Rudder approached Joe with the proposition to construct a badly needed hotel on the Corner of Texas Avenue and University. After appearing hesitant about the project due to his lack of experience in the hotel industry, Rudder encouraged him forward, getting the young businessman to wonder how much different it could be than the food industry.

So Joe began to build. By 1960 the Ramada Inn opened, looking far different than the Plaza Hotel that we know today. The Ramada had been a quaint, two story Inn with an Olympic swimming pool, faculty club, banquet hall, and just over 150 rooms. But this quiet corner served as a focal point for the College Station and Texas A&M community.

The Ramada Inn had immediate success and was consistently pushed to over 90% of its overall capacity. In fact, the hotel had such great business that Ferreri was pressed to expand. In 1980 he began the construction of a new high-rise for his Hotel, and in just one year an additional seventeen story tower was built: making the shell of the structure that you see today.

But despite the initial success of Ferreri’s expanded hotel and the overall consistent business he was receiving from the community at large, only a few years after the construction of the Hotel’s new high-rise, Joe Ferreri was forced to sell the Ramada Inn. In the early 1980s there was a major economic recession, much like the most recent economic events of the late 21st Century. Rising interest rates on the debts incurred from Ferreri’s construction, along with the overall state of the economy and slowing business, forced Ferreri out of his prized construction. The result was a loss of over 32 million dollars in assets and personal funds. Ferreri was left only with his home, a single car, and his family.

Since then what began as the Ramada Inn has switched ownership several times, becoming most recently what it is known as today: the Plaza Hotel. And it would appear that a similar fate befell the success of the Plaza Hotel’s business, the inevitable slip to bankruptcy that caused the hotel to close its doors for the last time in 2010.

Unfortunately, the story does not end there. After the abandonment of the Plaza Hotel, the twelve acre site of prime real-estate has become a hot-spot for crime, vandalism, and drug use. Criminals have been simply unable to avoid the alluring pull of an abandoned, seventeen story shelter full of furniture, walls, and glass. Security has been gradually increasing over the past few months, but authorities have become hard-pressed for the funds to support the coverage of such a broad area when the use of civil authorities is generally looked for elsewhere. So what is the result? Demolition.

The demolition project has been delegated to the local Civil Engineering Company, Mitchell and Morgan. Veronica Morgan is the lead Civil Engineer in charge of the implosion, which is currently set to occur around 6:30am this Thursday, the 24th of May. The event will be free and open to the public. Veronica Morgan herself hopes the implosion “will be an event for the community.” Many are certainly looking forward to the removal of the towering Plaza Hotel, which has been described by as an ‘eyesore’ to the community at large.

While future construction in the Plaza Hotel area is still unclear (there has been speculation about student housing, shopping/eating centers, night clubs, etc.), it is obvious and in popular demand that the archaic, outdated shell of the 1960s Ramada Inn be destroyed and replaced with a more aesthetically appealing structure. While the overall value of the land has decreased 28.7% from 2008 to 2010, it is still located in a prime location with an excellent promise of prosperous business. The city allegedly has had multiple propositions processed over the past several months, and the entire community is excited to find out what the future will hold.

PS – Susan Hilton is Bryan College Station, Texas’ real estate specialist in foreclosure sales and real estate agent career building so if you need help – CALL! 979-219-3970

Posted by Susan Hilton | Discussion: No Comments »

Sidewalks of Castlegate

This might be one of the most overlooked amenities in the Castlegate Subdivision.  If you, live there and have not utilized them, you are missing out.  These sidewalks cover most of the neighborhood and provide a shortcut to Forest Ridge Elementary.   Dogs, kids, and runners love them.

You have seen them, dogs and their owners.  Dogs love the the sidewalks as they lead the way on their leashes.  Most dog walkers have real doggy bags on their leashes.  It is exciting to see and know that the sidewalks are clean of debris for everyone.  The sidewalks are wide enough for dogs and their owners can walk and still give way to other pedestrians.  If you have a beagle, like me, you know that having a wide sidewalk helps.  I promise, my beagle Riley-Puppy, does not lift his nose from the ground the whole time we are on a walk.   Sometimes I think he is hunting for a beagle that smells just like him.  He will always leads the way around the 2.25 mile sidewalk straight to our front door.
Kids love the sidewalks because it leads them straight to Forest Ridge in the morning.  It is thrilling to see all the parents that ride their bikes next to their kids every morning.   Kids need sidewalks to ride bikes.  Recently, I saw that the sidewalk was cleared of all the underbrush that was between the sidewalk, fence and Forest Ridge.  This way kids can be seen. Thank you, city of College Station and Castlegate HOA!

You may not know this, but the sidewalk changes in elevation more than you realize.  You do not notice the hills in the car, but when you are running your legs will not miss them. These sidewalks are so much better  than running on  graded street.  There is a half mile downhill, and you guessed it, a half mile uphill around the northeast sidewalk.   There are flats, curves, wooden bridges and lots of turn offs that lead to other streets in the neighborhood.  Read some of the shirts people are wearing while running.  You will see several people with running event shirts while training on these sidewalks.  5K, 10K, ½ marathons and marathons shirts are running past you all the time.

Hopefully, if you have not utilized the sidewalk in Castlegate, you will now.  Spring is among us so get out there and walk your dog, ask your kid if they want to be a bike rider today or go for a 10 K run.

Keep them clean and keep it classy.

Steve Santos “My REALTOR”

 

PS – I’m Steve Santos, I do what I say I will do, some times more just never less

Posted by Steve Santos | Discussion: No Comments »

Expressions Dance and Music College Station, Texas — Teaching Kids, Dance, Music and More

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GklysTL0o5c[/youtube]

Being involved in dance and music is a great way for children to learn skills such as coordination, music reading, and rhythm. It’s also a great way for children to advance in their social skills and provide a fun environment to keep them active!

Expressions Dance and Music, located on Wellborn Road near Rock Prairie in College Station, Texas, is the perfect place to get your kiddos moving to the beat! Expressions Dance and Music offers tons of options – from drum to voice to violin and everything in between. They also have classes for almost every kind of dance you can imagine including the more traditional ballet and tap to hip hop, drill team, pom, and contemporary.

 Expressions Dance and Music has a class for just about every age  starting at 3 years.  They also have competition teams that are divided by age and are known for having great showmanship and being quite entertaining!

Two of my own children attend Expressions Dance and Music, and off all the activities we do, they both agree their time at Expressions is their favorite!

Raylene Lewis — Century 21’s #1 Realtor and College Station Expert

979-218-2235

www.buyincollegestation.com

Posted by Raylene Lewis | Discussion: 4 Comments »

Chef Tai’s Mobile Bistro College Station Texas — College Station’s Only Gourmet Food Truck

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jLtaONc2LC8[/youtube]

Chef Tai’s Mobile Bistro is one of College Station, Texas’ newest rave’s in town!  Chef Tai’s offers a variety of unique lunch specials that were inspired from cuisines around with world which include Kobe burgers, BBQ pulled pork tacos, Brussels Tofu Florentine and many others.

You can find Chef Tai at many different locations around the Bryan and College Station, Texas area weekly! Be sure to look them up on Facebook or Twitter to see if they will be near your workplace this week!

This is for sure a lunch you will want to have again and again! My personal favorite is a tie between the Kobe Burger and whatever their special dessert of the day is! Don’t miss it!

Raylene Lewis — Century 21’s #1 Realtor and College Station Expert!

979-218-2235

www.buyincollegestation.com

Posted by Raylene Lewis | Discussion: No Comments »

Honey Baked Ham Restaurant in College Station — When You are Hungry for a good Sandwich

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=js3hc-aEf-s[/youtube]

Hungry for a sandwich in South College Station?  In 1957 in Detroit, Michigan, Harry J. Hoenselaar opened up the first Honey Baked Ham and since opening, there have been over 400 stores opened across the United States.   The best thing of all at Honey Baked Ham is, of course, THE HAM!!! The ham is of the finest quality that is smoked for hours over hardwood chips and other unique items.  The bone is left in the ham to help with the flavoring of it .

When you are at Honey Baked Ham in College Station, Texas there is a range of different items on the menu that you can choose from, from lunch specials that include a sandwich, chips, soup and a drink to ordering some of their YUMMY pies!! 

 The restaurant also features items that are already cooked that you can purchase out of their convenient freezer located near the check out and take home and pop in the oven.  If this doesn’t have your mouth watering, step into the Honey Baked Ham in College Station, Texas today and smell the aroma and try not to be tempted to order something off of the menu!

Want to see a Restaurant Featured? Let me know where you like to eat!

Raylene Lewis — Century 21’s #1 Realtor and College Station Expert!

979-218-2235

www.buyincollegestation.com

Posted by Raylene Lewis | Discussion: No Comments »

Freebirds World Burrito College Station Texas — When Your Hungry for Quick TEX MEX

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HwVX9NOVrrg[/youtube]I have always thought of Freebirds World Burrito as originating in  College Station, Texas, but they  first opening their  doors in Santa Barbara, California in 1987.   Their motto “Feed Your Belly, Feed Your Soul” and relaxed atmosphere have always been a place my kiddos have enjoyed!   If you have never been to a Freebirds, it is pretty much like a Subway restaurant, only for Tex-Mex.  You can call it in, order when you get there  or even order in advance on-line. I like it that I know I can have food for my entire family in less than 10 minutes, without the grease of some other fast food options.

The first Freebirds came to College Station, TX  in 1991, at Northgate across the street from Texas A&M University.  College Station now has a total of 4 locations around the vicinity of the area to help fulfill your burrito craving appetite, and there is rumor that there might be a 5th location coming soon! (I’m betting maybe at the new HEB Center off of Greens Prairie?)

Freebirds offers a wide variety of burritos, salads, quesadillas, nachos, tacos, and kid’s menu items!!  But the big things to get when you come into Freebirds are their AMAZING burritos!  There are many sizes and types to choose from like the Hybrid all the way up the massive 7lb SUPER MONSTER Burrito. — There is also special way to eat their burritos.  The idea is to peel the foil your bird, like a banana, as you eat.   My kiddos like playing with the foil and creating all sorts of animals, objects, etc. to stick on the brick next to the walls where other burrito consumers have done the same.

 Freebirds in College Station, Texas is a place that anyone who comes to College Station needs to try!  It is a place many of my clients ask me about and often a place we stop at for lunch while we are touring houses. Once you try one, you will always want another! Let me know if you have ever eaten a MONSTER–I can’t even finish my hybird!

Raylene Lewis– College Station Expert and Realtor

979-218-2235

www.buyincollegestation.com

Posted by Raylene Lewis | Discussion: 3 Comments »

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