10/15/18 12:15pm

A building permit filed last Thursday reveals that an ice cream shop plans to take over the corner Hazard-St.-and-Westheimer storefront shown on the left in the photo above. Backed by a group that calls itself Milk + Sugar Creamery LLC, the new store plans to grab just a 1,542-sq.-ft. portion of the building’s west side — which has been occupied by a trio of clothing shops over the last decade.

Mio Boutique was the last of them; it picked up from Coquette in 2014, which picked up from Pixie & Ivy about 8 years ago. Although all 3 of the stores dealt in womenswear, Coquette went a step beyond, retaining an “onsite psychic” — reported Culturemap — to assist customers along with its regular sales staff.

Photo: LoopNet

Vermont Commons
10/11/18 11:30am

A Swamplot reader reports that renovations to the shopping center on Westheimer across from Light Bulbs Unlimited “suddenly stopped about a month ago,” leaving a few gaping holes open in the face of the strip. Pictured at top is the space where Radio Shack once stuck out a few ft. from the rest of the building before it shut down along with the rest of the chain and sat vacant prior to the remodeling that began earlier this year.

Despite their presence on the marquee shown above, a number of the other tenants recently hit the road from the center as well: Tanacious Tanning, which occupied the spot (also wide open) just west of Radio Shack; Stars Cleaners, located off Commonwealth St. to the far west; and Consign It!, which punctuated the building’s eastern end. Their spaces are all up for lease right now, according to a LoopNet listing posted back in June. Nidda Thai Cuisine and its next-door neighbor Erotic Cabaret on the other hand appear to be sticking around.

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An Inside Look
10/08/18 12:15pm

Twelve standard Mattress Firm locations (red) are going out of business, as well as 4 Final Markdowns (orange) and one Clearance-branded location (yellow). That’s 17 closures altogether, 2 shy of the number Mattress Firm announced would shutter across the rest of Texas when it filed for bankruptcy last week.

They are . . . on Westheimer near Hillcroft Ave., on I-10 in the Village Plaza at Bunker Hill shopping center, in Westgate Marketplace retail center off I-10 along N. Fry Rd., next-door to the other Mattress Firm in the Westmont Shopping Center at Westheimer and Montrose Blvd., on the W. Loop S. feeder road between Westheimer and Richmond, across Tomball Pkwy. from Willowbrook Mall, on Hwy. 6 north of Bissonnet, across from Baybrook Mall in Webster, in the Riverstone Shopping Center on Hwy. 6 in Missouri City, on 59 in Richmond near the beginning of the Grand Pkwy., in Sugar Land’s Market at Town Center shopping center next to First Colony Mall, at Pearland Town Center, across from the Mason Village shopping center in Katy, further south down S. Mason Rd. near Highland Knolls Dr. in Katy, on I-45 south of Robinson Rd. in Spring, at The Woodlands Mall, and on I-45 north of W. Davis St. in Conroe.

The Big Sleep
10/08/18 10:15am

Soon it appears there’ll be only one Mattress Firm again in the Westmont Shopping Center at Montrose Blvd. and Westheimer: The one on the right at 1005 Westheimer is set to close while the one on the left at 1003 Westheimer is sticking around — for now, at least; more closures are on the way according to the plan Mattress Firm announced in its bankruptcy filing last week to, among other things, thin out areas it thinks are too crowded with its own stores by closing 700 of them after an initial group of more than 200 get axed “within the next few days.”

In a court filing, the chain said no liquidation sales are planned at any of its ill-fated stores. But signage outside the former Mattress-Proturned-Mattress-Firm Final Markdown this morning indicates otherwise:

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Final Days of a Final Markdown
10/05/18 12:30pm

MATTRESS FIRM HAS FILED FOR BANKRUPTCY The nationwide chain filed for Chapter 11 this morning in order to deal with its debt$3.2 billion by Paul Takahashi’s accounting — as well as what the company calls “certain economically inefficient store locations.” 700 stores nationwide are goners, 200 of which will be closing “in the next few days,” according to the company. [Previously on Swamplot] Photo of shuttered Mattress Firm at 208 Westheimer Rd.: Swamplox inbox

10/05/18 10:30am

All that foreplay over the sex doll brothel planned inside the 2 story building pictured above on Richmond Ave just east of Chimney Rock ended up going nowhere Wednesday when city council blocked its opening by amending an ordinance that regulates adult businesses within city limits. Following the council’s unanimous vote, having sex with what the amendment calls “anthropomorphic devices” inside stores that offer them is now illegal in Houston. However, selling the dolls for take-home use remains no problem — provided that the retailer is more than 1,500 ft. from all nearby schools, churches, daycare centers, areas with 75% residential density, and public parks

City-owned Anderson Park is just about catty-corner to the brothel’s planned location at 5615 Richmond — meaning the property is now off-limits to any kind of R-rated establishment. (Existing PG tenants include Kaan Cafe, Omni Salsa Dance Studio, and a handful of clothing shops.)

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5615 Richmond
10/03/18 1:00pm

A Swamplot reader perched up in the SkyHouse River Oaks apartment building on Westcreek Ln. has been sending in updates on the new strippy building rising directly south of Robbins Brothers Jewlers’ W.-Loop-Feeder location. The photo at top shows the current state of progress on the new structure, and the other one above shows where it was at 2 and a half weeks ago.

Although nobody’s piped up just yet to say what it’ll look like when its done, a temporary address board hanging outside the construction site gives its location as 2111 W. Loop S. — reports the reader — which is the same spot where the city has signed off on permits for a 3-story retail and parking building over the last few months. It’s also the former site of Joe’s Golf House (though its address, 2121 W. Loop S., was slightly different the one now in use) and its feeder-fronting golf ball sign which remains teed-up today.

Here’s a closer view of the site from September:

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Behind Joes’s Golf Tee
10/03/18 10:30am

Crews have begun tearing into the building 4 blocks north of the Pierce Elevated formally known as U-Haul Moving and Storage of Midtown at San Jacinto in order to replace it with a new storage building nearly 8 times larger. About half the existing structure is down now thanks to the excavator that foregrounds the SkyHouse Main apartment building in the photo at top. Still standing: the entrance ramp to U-Haul’s rooftop parking lot — from which a fleet of orange trucks took off sometime before construction fencing surrounded the 28,376-sq.-ft. building late last month.

The new, 220,160-sq.-ft. facility could extend partly into the adjacent surface parking lot along Leeland St. according to plans the developer filed with the county earlier this year. Whether or not it does, most of the extra space will show up vertically in the form of something much taller than the 2-story that’s now crumbling at 1617 San Jacinto.

Photos: Eric Ramon (demolition); U-Haul (building)

Be Right Back
09/27/18 4:30pm

Tune Up: The Manly Salon got the city’s approval yesterday to start renovating the building shown above into the latest member of its barber-shop chain, now roughly 20-stores strong. Following those locations’ lead, the 626 W. 19th St. shop — next to the former Southern Goods — would appeal to guys by offering them free drinks and access to an arcade stocked with video and old-fashioned games while they wait to get groomed. Hair care services include standard cuts, beard trims, straight shaves, and eyebrow waxing. Perhaps less manly are the cosmetic offerings: manicures, pedicures, and a mani-pedi combo for 4 bucks less than the cost of the two combined.

Photo: LoopNet

Making the Cut
09/26/18 4:30pm

The building with a roof that’s bigger than its body at 3024 Houston Ave. is now slated to become a cafe operating under the name Uncle Bean’s Coffee Shop. The photo at top — posted to the venue’s fledgling Facebook page this morning views the structure from the west side of the road, just south of Alma St. Its most recent occupant: Mr. Details Hand Car Wash.

White paint hit the exterior sometime during the former tenant’s tenure, washing out the yellow splat marks that once graced its north and south sides:

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Woodland Heights
09/26/18 10:30am

 

By its own count, Mattress Firm now has just over a dozen shops open inside the 610 Loop after closing its 202 Westheimer location next to the (also recently shuttered) Njoy Thai restaurant on Sunday. The full-strip store pictured above took over from Hollywood Food & Cigars #3 and its neighbor Tejas Boots under the name Mattress Pro 3 years ago before its parent retailer scrapped that pseudonym and rebranded all of its locations under the Mattress Firm moniker.

Over the last year, the chain’s shut down hundreds of storesreports USA Today‘s Nathan Bomey, who echoes other murmurs that the retailer’s South African parent company Steinhoff could soon file for bankruptcy. And as the legal battle between Mattress Firm and a trio of brokers it says profited through reckless dealmaking continues to play out in court, the company’s been hit with another suit. In it, mattress brand Tempur-Pedic — which lost its contract to sell products in 3,300 Mattress Firms last year — alleges that the retailer’s “Therapedic“-branded product line is a copycat version of its own bedding and that gullible consumers will be “will inevitably be confused and harmed,” by the knockoffs.

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Laid to Rest
09/25/18 10:00am

The photo at top shows Cypress Ace Hardware attempting to label its most obscure class of goods, the odds and ends customers know they want but struggle to put a name on. Turns out they’re actually top sellers at the 11655 Jones Rd. store: “We have so many people that walk in with a random part in their hand,” co-owner Susan Murff tells the Chronicle’s Rebecca Hennes. Their question: “Do you carry these doohickies?

Installed about 8 months ago, the DOOHICKIES lettering matches signs that aren’t visible in the photos but run horizontally to the left and right of what’s pictured, advertising the rest of the store’s offerings: tools, paint, electrical items, plumbing supplies, a fudge bar, and an on-site post office. (There’s also an “indoor grilling center where customers can schedule a time to cook their favorite meat on a grill they are interested in buying,” reports Hennes.) As for what corporate’s got to say, each Ace store is individually owned, so local management gets some editorial power over its own décor.

Photos: Karen M. (storefront); Cypress Ace Hardware & Feed (sign)

The Writing on the Wall
09/19/18 3:45pm

The chain’s new 3004 Yale St. location opens next Friday, September 28 in the strip behind the 4-week-old grocery store and its parking lot off 610. Just off-camera to the left of the gym’s spot is the Verizon store that’s already doing business in the retail building.

It’s holding down the fort all by itself right now, but once Orangetheory moves in next door a bunch more tenants are expected to follow:

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Independence Heights
09/18/18 9:45am

Signage is down and a closure notice is up on Blast Fitness’s now-former 3936 N. Shepherd storefront, which lies within the northern portion of the strip that Aldi plans to take over. Pictured above is that portion — just south of Garden Oaks Blvd. — where Yoga Collective and a next-door vacuum shop took off previously to make room for the grocer. Blast’s turf was on the south side of theirs, near where retail signs and parking activity pick back up on the right in the image.

For those in need of a new gym, not to worry: Blast is letting customers transfer their memberships to any location run by its affiliate brand Fitness Connection. The nearest of that chain’s 14 Houston fitness centers? Eight miles away in Greenspoint Mall.

Photos: Dan Bradley

Clearing the Way
09/17/18 9:45am

Red hyphenated signage hasn’t yet put a name to the building, but you can see all the other makings of H-E-B’s second second-story Houston grocery store from above in the video at top. The footage starts off over N. Shepherd, then pans around the corner of 23rd St., offering a view of the former Fiesta site from the south.

Back in March a spokesperson for the grocer told The Leader’s Landan Kuhlmann to expect a “late fall opening,” meaning the store’s debut could coincide roughly with the 2 year anniversary of the dry zone modification its management pushed for prior to construction.

Video: Brandon DuBois

Doubly Decked Out