Austin Powers the New North Montrose Whole Foods

That’s a mighty oh . . . Austinish-looking shell of a Whole Foods Market sprouting at the northeast corner of Waugh and West Dallas. The building — last pegged at 48,000 40,450 sq. ft. — faces north, to a big parking lot and AIG’s American General Center on Allen Parkway beyond. The design comes from the same architecture firm responsible for the flagship Whole Foods in downtown Austin, now named Stone Soup 6 Architecture. They’re from Austin too! The corners of the building are already stoned. And it looks like even more rocks from the Hill Country are headed for that little Hoo-Ray Tower entrance at the center:


Photos: Swamplot inbox. Rendering: Stone Soup 6 Architecture

24 Comment

  • Waugh is going to be one busy street. And the Waugh/Allen Parkway interchange will likely become a quasi-parking lot, assuming that the traffic lights don’t get timed properly. Which seems like a fair assumption to make.

  • The following was from the North Montrose civic association meeting November:

    1) The reason the back-end of the store is facing Dallas and the side is facing Waugh is because of the AIG building. They (AIG building owner) required that the store be placed as far away from the building as possible. This meant that the parking lot had to sit between the AIG building and the store pushing the back to Dallas (unfortunately).
    2) The loading entrance will be on Dallas and will exit onto Waugh. This means the trucks will not have to cross any traffic to get to the loading docks.
    3) The trucks will be loading sometime in the early morning and should be finished by 8:00 AM. There will be nice large wooden doors to conceal the entrance and exit to the loading dock during the day when there is no loading.
    4) The corner of the store on Waugh closest to D’amico will contain an outdoor/indoor style cafe with garage-type doors that open in good weather. The renderings of the store show a patio with umbrellas. They expect to have bands, etc playing there.
    5) The store will be very pedestrian friendly with all traffic entering from the BACK of the parking lot (close to D’amico). They say they learned from the Kirby store that allowing cars to enter by the store entrance is a nightmare for traffic.
    6) There will be bike racks with some 50 or available slots. There will be a free tire filling station. The focus here is to really drive bike traffic (and pedestrians as noted in #5).
    7) There will be many skylights on the roof allowing a bunch of natural lighting.
    8) There will be many large trees that should grow to provide good shade in time (not just those short trees).
    9) No comment on an apartment building going up next to it BUT.. look at the roundabout driveway. Obviously not built just for a grocery store.
    10) They will recycle their own rainwater and use it in sprinkler system.
    11) I think 250 parking spots. Kirby store has 150. Kirby store is 35,000 sq ft and this one slightly larger at 40,000.
    12) No real details on the inside of the store. They expect it to fit in very well with the diversity of Montrose. They are reaching out to local artists to put local art in the store (and around it). I can’t remember exactly the email to submit. Maybe If you are and artist and want to submit your stuff give it a whirl.
    13) They expect to open in the spring. Shooting for March if no big weather delays.
    14) Store hours aren’t set. Expected to be 7:00AM to 10? (if i remember correctly).
    15) They are very excited as were the people in the meeting. They say Houston is the #2 market for them (they have 300 stores i think). Every store is built for the specific location (sugarland way different of course than Montrose).
    16) They think there will be a bank at the corner of D’amico and Waugh in that section of the parking lot (which is what we really need right????)
    17) They are hoping to relieve some of the high traffic they get at kirby store as it is a nightmare.

  • 250 parking spots?! What an outrage. This kind of suburban-style development is completely inappropriate for this area. Where are the traffic studies? Why did the city allow this instead of pressuring the developer to do a sustainable mixed-use project on this site, with retail, residential, office space and multi-level parking. That’s the only acceptable kind of development for a parcel of this size in our urban core.

    At least that’s what I’m told.

  • great info shannosa , thanx

  • Ango, it’s simple: Whole Foods Rocks. WalMart Sucks. Nuff said.

  • I like Austin enough but have a bit of a Houston superiority complex. I want Austin to stay there and we will continue to rock here. That being said, it could have been some faux Mediterranean with a fake terra cotta roof so this looks pretty nice. It sounds like a great deal of thought was put in to how it is going to impact the surrounding area and traffic flow (which was not considered in the development of the WM property). Over all, I like it.

  • I saw a great shirt in a store in the Heights the other day. It said “It’s ok to hate Austin”. The store also does “It’s ok to love Houston”.

    As to the inevitable Walmart issue, just do the math: 40,000 sq ft v. 152,000 sq ft; 250 parking spaces v. 660; 7-10 v. 24 hours; sited on a six lane road v. sited on a four lane road; standing alone (or mixed use with an apartment complex) v. standing amongst acres of strip mall retail and fast food; something the community actually needs (Kirby gets so packed you can’t park your car) v. something the community hates.

  • I can walk to the Kirby store from my home but I will gladly drive to this one once it’s open. The Kirby store is too small and too crowded, with inadequate parking. Frankly, once this new location is open, I wouldn’t mind seeing them close the Kirby store for good.

  • My hope is that they make the light at Waugh and D’Amico more traffic friendly with turning arrows for the cars turning left from D’Amico onto Waugh. This goes for West Dallas turning onto Waugh, there will need to be a protected arrow with all the increased traffic.

  • I don’t live in the area and probably will only shop here out of curiosity but I do have a question.

    How in the world did the AIG people manage to “require” where the food store was to be placed?

  • @PYEWACKET2…I believe that land was originally part of the American General campus. Maybe it was a stipulation when they sold the parcel to Whole Foods or something??

  • Old school, just wanted to say thanks again for giving the community a voice. Its great to know that there are people who are so secure in their own elitism that they are able to assume they speak for the whole community. Now drive the Heights and tell me what percentage of homes are carrying the anti Walmart sign, 2%, maybe 3%. Being the loudest minority voice doesn’t make you the voice of the majority.

  • I think this is very neat

  • Jim – I can also walk to the Kirby Whole Foods from my home and REALLY don’t want them to close it. I do, however, hope the traffic and crowded store conditions are alleviated with this new store.

  • If you want Whole Foods products without the overcrowded conditions or the pretentious shoppers, try the one on Holcombe near Stella Link.

  • The store will be very pedestrian friendly in that it projects its front face towards the oversized parking lot (50% more spaces per square foot of retail than the West End Walmart). It will project the delightful walls of its suburban big box architecture towards pedestrians as they walk by on either Dallas or Waugh. Are people really so blinkered that they think this is any less of a big box retail development than any other grocery store. Kudos to Whole Foods’ PR department if they are.

  • Jimbo: Have you even looked at the plan for the Walmart? It is set back behind five acres of strip malls on a street with no bus stops. You can walk right up to the Whole Foods from the sidewalk. In order to get to the Walmart, you have to go all the way across the parking lot for the strip mall and the Walmart parking lot.

    And a 40,000 sq foot grocery store is not a suburban big box. It is not the ideal of new urbanism either. But, calling it a suburban big box is just silly. HEB, Kroger, Randalls and Fiesta all are building 70-80,000 sq foot stores in the burbs. This whole foods is HALF that size and

  • a QUARTER of the size of the Walmart. (hit the enter key by accident before I was done)

  • LOVE Whole Foods, can’t wait for the Montrose to open since its on my way home from Med Ctr to Oak Forest.

    But, since Waugh to Yale was my preferred way home, with the new WF on Waugh and the Walmart coming on Yale…I’m just screwed.

    BTW, isn’t it ok to love BOTH Houston and Austin?

  • Not in my backyard, oh wait yeah it is. Traffic on the weekends is going to be tough. Oh well kudos whole paycheck foods, prime spot and conveniently closer than River Oaks Kroger, or nasty disco Kroger.

  • Let me get this straight: we’re upset that an Austin-based store looks like it’s from Austin? Has anyone explained to Houstonians that a city 2.5 hours away is a helluva a lot closer to “regionally appropriate” than Tuscany or Greece will ever be?

  • From Old school:
    I saw a great shirt in a store in the Heights the other day. It said “It’s ok to hate Austin”. The store also does “It’s ok to love Houston”.
    You are talking about Hello Lucky! They also sell a shirt that says: I (outline of Texas) (outline of Texas), so it reads I “Texas” “Texas.” Awesome.

  • I need to get me that shirt! Thanks Old School and Mel.