Magic Island Rising From the Crypt Into Action

HOUSTON – By Cynthia Lescalleet (for Realty News Report) — For real this time, Magic Island management says of the on-and-off-and on again restoration and renovation at the Houston landmark for dinner, show, music and prestidigitation.

The rooftop’s hard-to-miss massive pharaoh head has peered over the Southwest Freeway for decades. Of late, the flurry of fixer-upper activity has been equally noticeable.

The Massive Pharoah Head

When the Vegas-style venue re-opens, date not yet disclosed, look for the “glory” of its origins plus updates for a new generation’s diversionary expectations, said Michael Loneman, general manager. With the many moving pieces of readying a restaurant and nightclub still in play, he said, ”We’re not there yet, but we see it from here.”

Among the more obvious additions to the building is a massive outdoor terrace – with new retractable awning – facing west that provides not only entertainment space but a porte-cochere for the grand entrance and valet service off the parking area. The re-rejiggered  first floor now accommodates a 500-seat banquet room with service and staging areas tucked neatly behind a new Egyptian-themed mural.

New elevators will whisk guests to the second level bar-dominated lobby feeding into four dining rooms, a 160-seat theater with full stage, a game room, and a small banquet space with access to the terrace.

The estimated $6 million project — this round, anyway — remains a passion for property owner Mohammed Athari, a neurologist whose offices are adjacent to the site.

Magic Island opened in 1984 in a two-story building that was previously a nightclub. It shuttered in 2008 after a fire during Hurricane Ike. Time thereafter was not kind, as squatters and vandals gained access.

In 2018, a spurt of renovation first raised the flag of bringing it back. The latest round – soon to include power washing and paint repairs — began in earnest last fall.

There’s still work to be done. But if a grand re-opening occurs in 2024, many former fans and observers will consider it pure magic.


March 18,  2024 Realty News Report Copyright 2024

Photos: Cynthia Lescalleet, CALpix  Copyright 2024

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