Now that the former XCars service center across from the Silber St. Walmart has been torn down, construction is underway on the Enterprise Rent-a-Car building that’s taking its place. The new 960-sq.-ft. building’s placement on the third-acre lot suggests there will be plenty of room to fit a fleet of cars there, too. The L-shaped structure that stood on the property previously was a bit bigger — 1,200-sq.-ft. — and featured a long canopy extending out over its parking lot and toward the El Pollo Loco that went up directly across the street in 2015.
Right now, Enterprise’s closest rental office is just down the street, across Silber from the Marq-E Entertainment Center and directly adjacent to Italian car dealership Helfman Imports.
Photo: Swamplot inbox
Walmart’s New Neighbor
A Swamplot reader sends the photo at top showing a relative newcomer to the semi-circular metal retail structure in the foreground: Mattress Outlet. It opened for business 6 months ago at the corner of Hempstead Rd. and Post Oak southwest of what’s now the Northwest Mall (and what public and private officials say could become the Houston end of that Dallas-bound high-speed rail line.) The 2 huts have been there for decades were at one time neighbored to the south by 2 more of their kind — until that pair vanished around the turn of the century.
Signage isn’t up yet, but a custom hardwood furniture business is now on its way into larger, blue hut next-door:
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Cozy New Digs
A handful of building permits filed recently over at the Marq’e Entertainment Center indicate that kids training center Soccer Hub is kicking off renovations directly behind the spot reserved for the new Spaghetti-Warehouse-like eatery the brand’s parent company is calling Warehouse 72. Together, both new venues will be taking over the space Korean buffet Kpop gave up last year on the shopping center’s non-movie-theater side, across the arch-fronted alley from Dave and Buster’s‘s almost-but-not-entirely standalone building. (There’s now a mystery-themed escape room up in its business, as indicated on the map above.)
It’s not an entirely even split: Soccer Hub is getting about 6,000 sq.-ft. while Warehouse 72 will have 8,600 — enough room for seating, prepared food retail fixtures, and a double-sided bar serving both the restaurant’s insides and a planned 750-sq.-ft. patio, reports Eater‘s Alaena Hostetter. Until the 2 get situated — or get beat to the punch by the Hugh O’Connors Irish-themed restaurant opening in space number 25 on the map —specialty soda and candy shop Rocket Fizz will remain the only thing inside the Marq’e’s center building. It’s been there by itself since Cafe Adobe closed in what’s shown on the map as spot number 26, leaving 10,000 sq.-ft. up for grabs.
Photo: Kpop. Map: Levcor
Tag Team Takeover
APARTMENT GROUNDWORK GETS GOING NEXT TO FORMER PINE CREST GOLF COURSE FAIRWAY
A couple building permits filed yesterday show
developer engineering firm Kimley Horn is about to put down the foundation for some apartments just west of the Pine Crest Golf Course. While the golf course — slated for 800 houses of its own following the city’s sign-off in April — lies almost entirely within the 100-year floodplain, the adjacent apartment site is mostly unmapped by FEMA, although an eastern sliver of it along Gessner Rd. does carry the 500-year designation. All 16 acres at 10333 Clay Rd. are currently vacant; they’re split between 2 abutting properties together dubbed Spring Shadows Business Park when their boundaries were officially redrawn in June. [Previously on Swamplot] Map of 10333 Clay Rd.: Houston Planning Commission
CITY COUNCIL APPROVES MUD FOR 800 NEW HOMES ON PINE CREST GOLF COURSE
Houston’s city council voted today to approve a proposal to create a municipal utility district for an 800-house development Meritage Homes wants to build on the former Pine Crest Golf Course. The golf course, which lies within the 100-year floodplain, is located at the corner of Gessner and Clay in the Brickhouse Gully watershed — where 2,300 residential structures flooded during Harvey. Today’s vote was on a proposal identical to one that was considered by the council last October but instead referred to the mayor’s office for further review. A representative of Meritage Homes told the Chronicle following the initial proposal that it would publish an analysis of “where or how floodwaters would flow across the surrounding land” after construction. But it later decided not to — reported the Chronicle’s Mike Morris — claiming that such a study would have been “irrelevant” in light of the city’s new standards for building in floodplains. A no vote by city council today would not have necessarily killed the project, council member Brenda Stardig noted to Morris — although it would have forced Meritage to find an alternate source of funding for the neighborhood’s infrastructure. The developer bought the 150-acre former golf course from MetroNational last year. [Houston Chronicle; more; previously on Swamplot] Photo: Meritage Homes
One week oil and gas equipment warehouse just north of the Katy that Work America Capital is converting into a place of business has been partially skinned. Its street-fronting side is now open and the illuminated sign that spelled out the Surefire Industries name atop the front entrance has been replaced with Burton Construction’s unlit banner.
Work America says the structure at 1336 Brittmoore will anchor a 25-acre business campus it’s developing, dubbed The Cannon. It’s slated to include co-working offices, as well as an event center, athletic facility, restaurants, retail and some sort of living space.
Here’s a view of what the barn-like structure will look like re-sided and with new windows:
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COMMENT OF THE DAY: TEXAS CENTRAL’S PARKING GARAGE ISN’T JUST A SIDE GIG
“Site plans of both stations (Houston and Dallas) make it clear that the revenue model for this project isn’t selling train tickets — it’s selling parking. This site is ideal for that purpose: there’s no where nearby (walking distance) to compete for parking revenue, and it has a much cheaper land cost than Downtown. If you’re going to make the station 80 percent parking garage, why bother spending the extra money running it all the way to Downtown?” [Angostura, commenting on What Texas Central’s Proposed Houston Bullet Train Station Looks Like in Place of the Northwest Mall] Conceptual rendering of Houston bullet train station from W. 18th St.: Texas Central
RALPH BIVINS: BULLET TRAIN DEVELOPERS HAVE THE NORTHWEST MALL UNDER CONTRACT (BUT IT’S ALL A BIG MISTAKE)
Veteran real estate writer Ralph Bivins reports that Texas Central already has the Northwest Mall site it proposed for Houston’s bullet train station under contract. Only a few retailers are open now in the shopping center, including the Palais Royal department store and Thompson’s Antique Center of Texas. A gas station and Burger King also sit at the northeast edge of the mall’s parking lot on the corner of W. 18th St. and the busy West Loop S. — which Bivins worries is about to get busier: “Why would anyone think it’s a good idea to be dumping an additional 10,000 or 20,000 train riders a day into the Northwest Mall area? The dumping ground that could really use them, he says, is getting snubbed: “Where is the dream for a world-class train station in downtown Houston? It should have restaurants, retail, hotels, nearby residential – and connections to light rail, buses and commuter rail.” [Realty News Report, previously on Swamplot] Conceptual rendering of bullet train station on current Northwest Mall site: Texas Central
The video at top put out by Texas Central pans around the what’s now the Northwest Mall and its parking lot to show a new double-arched bullet train station and parking garage replacing them in the crotch where W. 18th St. and Hempstead Rd. meet the West Loop. Texas Central chose the 45-acre site over 2 others it was considering just south of the mall for the Houston terminus of the planned Houston—Dallas rail line. The terminal building — coded orange in the site plan above — sits between Hempstead and a new road that’s proposed just north of it. The parking garage would be located inside the gray zone indicated between W. 18th and the new street.
Elevated train tracks enter the station after crossing over a new extended segment of Post Oak Rd. Looking southeast from W. 18th St., one of Texas Central’s conceptual renderings of the site shows the tracks tracks heading into the terminal, next to the parking garage:
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Park and Ride
One of these 3 spots revealed in a report from the Federal Railroad Administration will be the planned site for the Houston-Dallas high-speed rail line’s Houston terminal. All 3 are near the intersection of the 610 Loop and the BNSF rail tracks that run parallel to Hempstead Rd. just south of 290.
In the map at top, the station takes the land directly north of the Northwest Transit Center, where an industrial complex home to Icon Electric, Engineering Consulting Services, and others exists now. Hempstead Rd. is shown fronting Northwest Mall at the top of the plan.
Another proposal puts the station in the spot where the mall is now:
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Bullet Train Station
MUD AND WATER AT THE PINE CREST GOLF COURSE
Tomorrow City Council is scheduled to approve a new municipal utility district for a proposed development on the Pine Crest Golf Course at Gessner and Clay Rd. in Spring Branch that would include enough new homes to house 800 residents. MetroNational is selling the 116-acre site to Meritage Homes. “The district would be served by the City’s regional plant, West District Wastewater Treatment Plant,” reads the agenda item. “The nearest major drainage facility for Harris County Municipal Utility District No. 552 would be Buffalo Bayou, which flows into the Houston Ship Channel.” [City Council; previously on Swamplot] Photo of Pine Crest Golf Course: Meritage Homes
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:
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Memorial City Marches North
“We will not have a kitchen ourselves,” writes the proprietor of Cobble & Spoke, the new craft beer bar planned for space H, almost to the corner of the 1900 Blalock strip center at the northeast corner of Blalock St. and Campbell Rd., in response to a reader query earlier today on Facebook. “However there is a restaurant on site that you will be able to order with right at the bar & have the food delivered right to your table!” That restaurant is Simply Greek, just 6 storefronts down the L, past Precisions Research, a couple of vacant spaces, Ideal Furniture, Creatures of Yoga, and Senpai’s Cards.
At the opposite end of the center is the Stop n’ In convenience store paired with the pair of gas pumps that front the parking lot. Cobble & Spoke promises a selection of wines and craft ciders as well. Neighborhood riders who want to lock up their bicycles will be accommodated too, the bar’s owner notes: “We will have a bike rack out front & even some dedicated space inside.”
Photo: Silvestri Investments
Craft Beer and Imported Food
A branch of Taiwanese pastry chain 85˚C Bakery Cafe looks to be headed to the strip center endspot right next to the 99 Ranch Market at the intersection of Blalock Rd. and I-10. A permit to remodel the former East West Bank branch into a bakery was issued in December; Weingarten now has the shop listed in on its own leasing materials for the strip center (marked down for the spot closest to the grocery store, in the siteplan above).
Meanwhile, Eater Houston’s Amy McCarthy made note of a note of a coming soon banner for the chain over somewhere over in Chinatown this morning; the company has also been posting job listings since last fall for Houston-area warehouse positions, so multiple stores could well be in the works.
Images: Weingarten Realty (top); CBRE (bottom)
Spring Branch Branches