08/23/18 10:15am

MEMORIAL CITY SEARS BITES THE DUST Next up for closure as part of the ongoing nationwide Sears shutterings: the Memorial City Mall location. It opened in 1962 along with the mall itself, where it occupies the 195,710-sq.-ft. southwestern wing. Thirty-two other Searses are going away with it across 21 states — reports Business Insider — including one fellow Texas store in Bryan. [Business Insider; previously on Swamplot] Photo: Toru O.

08/15/17 12:15pm

The basic structure of a new bridge crossing from one side of the Conrad Sauer Detention Basin to the other in the northward expansion of Memorial City is now in place, this recent photo (above) from reader Marc Longoria shows. The bridge will be part of Mathewson Ln., which developer and property owner MetroNational is extending from Conrad Sauer Dr. eastward over the detention basin and connecting to Gessner Dr., as shown in this recent construction photo:


Memorial City Marches North
06/23/17 12:15pm

Reader Bayan Raji sends these pics of the new Hotel ZaZa as it nears completion deep in the superblock just east of Bunker Hill Rd. and south of I-10 in Memorial City. The design by Kirksey Architecture is somewhat reminiscent of the shape of the Hotel ZaZa in the Museum District, except instead of looking out onto the grand traffic circle around the Mecom Fountain and Hermann Park beyond, the double wings of this one will look out past a surface parking lot (shown in the foreground above) to the 20-lane-wide (including the feeders) Katy Fwy. To the west and south, the hotel is flanked by shorter parking garages; directly to its east (behind the construction fence pictured here) will be a green space reserved for live music and festivals.


Rooms in Memorial City
09/29/16 5:30pm

Hotel Zaza Memorial City, 9749 Interstate 10 Frontage Rd., Memorial City, Houston, 77024

A reader sends over this morning’s sunrise view of the Hotel Zaza Memorial City mid-to-highrise, now slowly rising west of Bunker Hill Dr. directly behind the Guadalajara Hacienda. Unlike the storied original in the former Warwick Hotel by Hermann Park, this one will be getting 4 floors of apartments to wear on top, and Hotel Zaza’s marketing materials also point out that it’ll be the first of the chain to be co-managed by a third party (that’d be MetroNational).  Here’s Kirksey’s rendering of what the place is supposed to look like when it’s done, and done up in a calmer beige — just imagine the Murphy, Cobalt, and Nexen office buildings spread out around it:


Glamming Up on I-10
07/05/16 11:15am

Liberty Kitchen in MetroNational Treehouse, 936 Bunker Hill Rd., Houston, 77024

treehouse-memorial-cityA reader not at liberty to reveal his or her identity sends along this shot from inside of Liberty Kitchen’s under-development location inside the green-hued (and -intentioned) MetroNational Treehouse at 936 Bunker Hill Rd. The restaurant is moving into a 5,600-sq.-ft. spot on the ground floor of the building. Below is a floor plan of the space from architect Kevin Stewart:


Liberty at Bunker Hill
05/25/16 4:15pm

TIRZ 17 boundary

Some Memorial-area residents (mostly under the banner of uncontroversially-named Residents Against Flooding) filed a previously-threatened lawsuit this morning requesting that the city of Houston and TIRZ 17 be barred from using the reinvestment district’s funds for private development projects until more drainage projects have been implemented in the nearby neighborhoods. The lawsuit alleges that the Memorial City Redevelopment Authority and the city have been increasing runoff from the zone (inside Beltway 8 at I-10, shown above in green) into the nearby neighborhoods without adding enough new drainage projects to compensate for it; residential flooding in 2009, last Memorial Day, and this Tax Day are cited as the outcome.

The group filing the suit says it doesn’t want money — so what is the suit asking for?


Memorial City
03/22/16 5:00pm

Tout Suite, Memorial City Mall, 303 Memorial City Way, Houston, TX 77024

Tout Suite, Memorial City Mall, 303 Memorial City Way, Houston, TX 77024A reader notes the logo of freeway-side cafe Tout Suite making an appearance over at Memorial City Mall, smack in the middle of the path leading north-to-south from Target to Sears. The first Tout Suite opened in early 2014 in the former nightclub, warehouse and auto dealership at 2001 Commerce St. just east of the 59 overpass; the same folks also started pastry shop Sweet in CityCentre several years prior.

Signage hints at an opening later this spring for the new spot, in the pedestrian crossroads by Kay Jewelers and Ice Skate USA at the western end of the mall (visible in the top photo). The spot is just down the hall from the freestanding Starbucks kiosk, which sits along mall’s east-west axis between Macy’s and JCPenney. Here’s a more southward facing shot of the Suite spot, looking toward the Sears entrance:


Finding The Suite Spot
07/15/15 4:30pm

Memorial City, Houston

From high atop its I-10-side rooftop robo-pineapple, the powers-that-be at MetroNational have heard of your desires to see a timelapse video illustrating the monstrous growth of Memorial City, just as it prepares to spill north across the mighty 30-lane Katy Fwy. Well, the company’s marketing department has, at least. And has bestowed upon Swamplot readers the next-best thing: the tetraptych pictured above, featuring aerial shots dating back almost 50 years and extending to . . . 4 years ago.

But what’s happened since? Edge City gotta keep up with the times! It now stands out above the expanse of west Houston sprawl in blazing color:


Big, Bigger, Biggiest Yet
07/09/15 3:00pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: RISE OF THE MEMORIAL CITY MONSTER Memorial City Mall, Houston“Does any else remember the old Memorial City Hospital that used to sit on the east-bound Katy Freeway feeder (west of Gessner)? It was once just a small 3 stories tall. Then they built 3 more floors on top of those, making it 6. Then it kept growing/morphing until it turned into the crazy space alien tower that it is today. Memorial City Mall has similarly morphed and changed continuously over the past 3 decades, constantly changing its footprint, accessibility, and façade. I would love to see some sort of time lapse of all the changes. With this expansion across I-10, I’m envisioning an eventual network of skywalks spanning the freeway to connect it all, like a great big vampire squid.” [Superdave, commenting on Memorial City Prepares To Cross the Katy] Illustration: Lulu

07/07/15 4:30pm

Proposed Cemex Headquarters Building, 10100 Katy Fwy., Spring Branch, Houston

Developer MetroNational is calling the 6-story Energy Corridor District office building and parking garage it officially announced today “the first step in expanding Memorial City north of I-10.” The 240,000-sq.-ft. structure planned for 10100 Katy Fwy. will house 15,000 sq. ft. of retail space on its ground floor — but the rendering of the building designed by Powers Brown Architecture sent out by the company does make the development look like an outpost in an even more suburban office park. As Swamplot reported last week, Mexican building-materials company Cemex will be leasing 80,000 sq. ft. in the complex for its U.S. headquarters.


New Cemex HQ
04/08/15 2:15pm

ONE WAY TO GET RID OF THAT PESKY TRAFFIC: TAKE AWAY THE STREETS Sign, Kimberley Ln., Frostwood, HoustonSigns are up around the Memorial City Apartments at 872 Bettina Ln., immediately south of the Memorial City Mall and adjacent to Frostwood, announcing a request that the city abandon portions of Bettina Ct., Strey Ln., and Kimberley Ln. (where the above photo was taken). The request was submitted by the limited partnership that owns the apartments. Its purpose, according to the city’s public works department, is “to reduce the amount of cut-through traffic in the neighborhood.” If granted, the complex would grant the city utility easements over the existing right-of-way. There’s more to it, according to the public works department: “Right-of-way will also be conveyed back to the City for a cul-de-sac to be constructed at the new terminus of Kimberley Lane, which will provide a connection to the driveway in to Bunker Hill Elementary. The cul-de-sac will also contain a 911 emergency gate to allow emergency vehicles to access the apartment complex from Kimberley Lane. Access to Bettina Court and Strey Lane will remain open from Barryknoll Lane, but any traffic turning on to these streets after the abandonment will only be able to access the apartment complex. Signs notifying the public of the subject request were posted April 3, 2015 and will remain up for 30 days.” So is everyone on board with this? So far, only 9 calls have been made to the city in response to the signs, with just one objecting to the deal. Photo: Swamplot inbox

01/13/15 3:30pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: WEST HOUSTON’S PLAN FOR SUBURBAN DOMINATION Humpty Dumpty Houston“Houston does not have a centralized downtown district. After Gerry Hines built the Galleria, the city fractured into numerous regional shopping centers and has remained decentralized since. Perhaps Houston functions better this way. Humpty Dumpty fell off the wall and all the King’s men cannot put Humpty Dumpty back together again. MetroNational and Midway Cos. are determined to reconstruct Houston with a new centralized downtown district in CityCentre. They envision Memorial Drive and Gessner as commercial 8-lane thoroughfares. They envision the corridor of residential neighborhoods between the Katy Freeeway and Memorial Drive as one big mega shopping center, an expansion of Memorial City that stretches on for miles. They envision deed restricted neighborhoods of Walnut Bend and Briargrove Park as office parks. Don’t believe me? Just go to the West Houston Association website and click on 2050 map. They are serious about remapping Houston. And what are they going to do with all the storm water run-off from these commercial buildings? They are going to channel it into Buffalo Bayou, of course. To do this they have to deforest the bayou and widen and deepen and concrete it. They are determined to do it. And where are they going to get the money to do this? Out of TIRZ 17 and MetroNational Bank.” [Memorial Resident, commenting on Comment of the Day: Houston’s Westward Tilt] Illustration: Lulu

06/03/14 12:45pm

Becks Prime Sportatorium, 303 Memorial City Mall (Sears Wing) Suite 514, Memorial City, HoustonThe 10,000-sq.-ft. Becks Prime location in the Sears wing of the Memorial City Mall — dubbed the Sportatorium on account of its 30 big-screen teevees showing major league sporting events, video game room, and conference room — shut down for good on Saturday. The location had been open since 2008, when the local hamburger chain was substituted late in the game for a venture originally planned to feature Roger Clemens, back in the days when the former Astros, Yankees, and Red Sox player was best known for his standout pitching.


Burgers Are Out!
01/30/14 4:30pm

Proposed Air Liquide Center, 9811 and 9807 Katy Fwy., Memorial City, Houston

Former Memorial Location of Bally Total Fitness, 9801 Katy Fwy., HoustonThat new office tower slated for the site of the 12-year-old Bally’s, then Blast! Fitness building  (pictured at left) at the northeast corner of the Memorial City Mall will be the new American corporate headquarters of industrial gas manufacturer Air Liquide. And it’ll be 2 buildings, actually: A 452,000-sq.-ft. 20-story tower designed by Morris Architects in back, and a 145,000-sq.-ft.12-story office building designed by Gensler in front, facing the I-10 feeder road. It’ll be called Air Liquide Center, but as shown in the rendering above, the core of the 2-building sandwich will be an 8-level parking garage.


Gas HQ by the Katy Freeway