- 1303 Du Barry Ln. [HAR]
A strip-mall enthusiast cruising the northern edge of Oak Forest this week sends a few shots from a stop through the 5405 T.C. Jester Center just south of Tidwell Rd. The center, located east across Cole Creek from the Northwest Wastewater Treatment Plant, is home to Frio To Go, part of Houston’s budding tape-the-top frozen cocktail drive-thru scene. The daquiri store has been operating since 2014 under its traffic signal sigil; the shop’s placement also provides a handy opportunity for situational testing for the over-21 students of Prime Time Driving School, located a few doors down:
The name Yale Street Commons is currently sprinkled about the edge of the Pine Forest Business Center northeast of Yale and 34th St. in the form of a few variance request notices (like the one shown above standing by the abandoned strip of rail track running along the 36th St. side of the warehouse park). That notice is for a request to merge 2 chunks of land within the rectangle made by Yale, 34th, 36th St., and the north-south line where E. 35th St. currently dead ends into the industrial-slash-office park, a few residential doors west of Cortlandt St. The applicant also appears to be asking for permission not to extend E. 35th St. all the way through the property, which sits near the border between Independence Heights and Garden Oaks. The 6-acre center, which in recent years has housed a variety of construction contractors, was sold in May to Stonelake Capital — currently at work on the Westheimer Oaks center and that Westheimer-fronting 5-acre make-it-a-park-for-now on either side of Mid Ln.
Photo: Swamplot inbox
ReVive’s plans to redo the shopping strips at the southwest corner of 34th St. and Ella Blvd. in Oak Forest look like they may keep a few existing businesses in the center, though some shuffling about may be involved. The rendering up top comes from the redeveloper’s leasing flier for the corner, which shows a makeover of several existing buildings along with plans for a few new pad sites. The flier depicts Surfhouse surf and skate shop (currently in a building next door slated for demo) snuggled into the spot recently evacuated by T-Shirt Works. The door next to that is marked with the logo for Pop & Pan (the eventual new name of Houston Panini & Provisions, pictured above in its current location facing 34th).
The siteplan included with the renderings clarifies some of the changes that might be carried out — the 2 existing buildings that form the L-shaped center rendered above are seen below on the left:
New colors and signs now herald the coming of Prince’s Hamburgers to 3425 Ella Blvd., north of 34th St. between “Wash Me” Car Wash and the Kar Hospital. Prince’s former dominion near 59 at Weslayan is now under the rule of not-quite-an-emergency health clinic MedSpring Urgent Care, though the 1930s restaurant chain still maintains another freewayside outpost in the former Murphy’s Deli spot on I-10 between N. Kirkwood Rd. and Tully St. Prince’s underground holdings Downtown have also been relinquished, along with the diner location on N. Post Oak Blvd.
The newly marked territory on Ella shares its western border with the Waltrip High School track. Across the street from the coming is Ella Plaza, formerly home to yes-that-Swayze Swayze School of Dance and recently worked over by serial redeveloper Braun Enterprises. Looking from the strip center’s parking lot to the south, the Shipley’s donut sign can be spied rising over the horizon, as can the Sunbelt Jewelry & Loan pawn shop’s commanding sign:
No, says a representative of West End Cleaners who’s been fielding calls this afternoon, the business isn’t shutting down. It’s just departing hastily from its branch location of a few more hours at the remodeled N. Shepherd strip center on 34th St. (in the spot between Pink’s Pizza and the Garden Oaks Veterinary Clinic) due to a rent hike. Plans have already been laid to land near the intersection of Westview Dr. and Silber Rd.; the business is also scouting for a new location in the old neighborhood, near 34th and Ella.
Furthermore, the rep emphasizes strongly that the clothing currently in-house will not be donated in 24 hours, as has been suggested on Facebook; all clothes will be moved over to the new location, and the business’s pickup and delivery service will continue as normal. The original actually-in-West-End location at 4918 Washington Ave is
still in service, too out of service as well; the business’s phone system lists it along with additional spots in the Energy Corridor and Cinco Ranch.
Photo: Isela Lopez Venecia
Here’s the southernmost end of the newest work from the Art Guys: the designation of an existing ‘designated natural area’ in Garden Oaks/Oak Forest as part of their series of situation sculptures. The grassy median strip along Wheatley St. between Pinemont Dr. and Tidwell Rd. is evidently one of the no-mow zones labeled by the city’s parks and recreation department that spurred complaints in 2011, when area residents alleged that newly planted trees had blocked sight lines and created hazardous driving conditions. According to the city’s website, the zones are carefully placed to “help promote the natural regeneration of the urban forest.”
As for techniques employed by the artists: per their other pieces in the series, the duo appears to have left the area alone. They have, however, provided GPS coordinates and a Google map to help visitors avoid losing their way.
While not flashy, tweaks have tidied a 1952 rancher in Oak Forest’s section across from the White Oak Bayou Trail near T.C. Jester Park. Its listing a week ago attached am $450K asking price, up a bit from the $186K paid in 2006, when the property last changed hands. Its perky, red-painted planter full, the property is extra buffed for an open house on Sunday afternoon.
Update, 2/19: Weingarten says the brochure was a “vision book” that was released to the public in error.
“The time is right for redevelopment” of the Sears at 4000 N. Shepherd Dr., declares a brochure published online earlier this week by Weingarten Realty. The brochure, which appears to be part of a proposal to Sears, which owns the 11.7-acre western portion of the site, says the REIT plans to partner with the retailer to turn the sleepy department store and the Pine Forest Business Park directly to its east into a “wonderfully connected and designed retail shopping destination for Garden Oaks, Oak Forest and neighborhoods around it,” including a new grocery store and restaurants.
No site plan is included in the presentation, but Weingarten notes that it plans to keep “the 2nd longest operating Houston Sears” open in some form throughout the redevelopment. “Weingarten’s vision is to acquire adjacent land,” then “temporarily relocate Sears into an existing building” — the Family Bingo Center at 641 W. Crosstimbers — before scraping and redoing the whole site.
Three years ago, this 2011 custom Oak Forest home with porch and pool sold for $460,000. Now? A listing over the weekend of the Craftsman-with-stuck-on-stone property carries a $750,000 price tag. That’s where price reductions from a previous listing by the same agent had landed after an initial ask of $799,500 in November 2014 and pre-holiday drop to $775,000. If the back yard’s oasis doesn’t provide enough of an escape, Oak Forest Park is a (very long) block up the street, which is located east of Rosslyn Rd.
OAK FOREST BERRYHILL STILL ON ITS WAY In the course of providing an overview of Houston’s commercial permitting process likely to open further the eyes of any wide-eyed I-wanna-open-a-restaurant newbie, Betsy Denson provides a quick sorta-update on the current status of the long-delayed Berryhill Baja Grill on the site of a former gas station at 1201 W. 43rd St., even though franchise owner Park Blair isn’t commenting publicly: “Some conjecture that it was an encroachment issue or something similarly major that has caused the delay at Berryhill on Ella. The restaurant applied for a building permit in 2011 and construction has been sporadic for the last two years. Their last approval for a restaurant addition was in February of 2014 and from the looks of things, they will open in the near future.” [The Leader] Photo: Betsy Denson
Does beer taste better in glass or metal containers? The draught beers of a new craft brewery will soon be bubbling in yet another cleaned-up metal structure in Houston — this one the former Fredrick’s Auto Repair in the southern edge of Oak Forest. 3540 Oak Forest Dr. will soon be home to the brand-new Allen’s Landing Brewing Company, the company announced on its Facebook page.
Photo: Allen’s Landing Brewing Co.