01/21/16 10:00am

51Fifteen, 5115 Westheimer, Galleria, Houston, 77056

While you’re waiting for that Galleria redo to wrap up, renderings have been released of the new home of 51Fifteen, the upscale bistro tucked into the existing Saks Fifth Avenue location along with its sister bar Bar 12 (currently located “amidst the men’s fashion selections”). The restaurant will follow Saks 5th Avenue to its new home, landing in its own swanky new space designed by the Contour Interior Design folks. The restaurant’s website is now booking events at the new location for dates as soon as April 2016.

Here’s a rendering from Beck Architecture of the new Saks building’s boxy exterior, slated for the spot where the Galleria III used to be:


51Fifteen at 5115
01/18/16 2:30pm

SWEEPING UP THE CRUMBS AT THE FORMER HOME OF MIYAKO, RED ONION, AND MADRAS PAVILION Corporate Plaza 2 and 3 Demolitions, Kirby at Norfolk, Upper Kirby, Houston, 77098 A reader surveys the scant leftovers of the once-restaurant-filled office park at Kirby at Norfolk this morning. The knock-’em-down phase of the demolition of Corporate Plaza II and III, which began in mid-December, appears to have wrapped up and transitioned into the haul-’em-away. The complex’s still-standing parking garage,  pictured on the right, was issued its demo permit on Friday. The last structure of the office park trio, the Corporate Plaza I midrise (hiding unsuccessfully behind the garage), has recently acquired a sash of debris netting around the middle; Nancy Sarnoff reports that Corporate Plaza I will be demolished as well. The complex should be fully done in by the end of April. [Chron.com, previously on Swamplot] Photo of 3910 and 3930 Kirby Dr.: Swamplot inbox

01/13/16 12:30pm

Rendering of Shake Shack Houston, 5015 Westheimer Rd., Uptown, Houston, 77056

Shake Shack’s planned Galleria location made an appearance at the company’s quarterly investor presentation yesterday — the new rendering scraps the outdoor patio present in the previously released depiction, and an exterior wall appears to be covered in greenery. The Shack currently anticipates a late-2016 opening, depending on progress of the surrounding Galleria redo.

Rendering of Shake Shack planned for 5015 Westheimer: Simon Property Group


5015 Westheimer Rd.
12/17/15 9:45am

2015 W. Gray St., River Oaks Shopping Center, Houston, 77019

The landscape of adorably-named taco shops grows ever denser — Baja fast-casual restaurant Fuzzy’s Tacos will continue its spread south from Cypress, creeping into the space at 2015 W. Gray St., in the parking lot behind the River Oaks Theater. The Fort Worth export will move into the freestanding building on Peden St. at the back of the shopping center, following the 8-month tapas act of Pesca World Seafood (which  shuttered in 2013 after replacing Tinto’s that same year).

The space itself is not quite taco-ready:


Very, Very Soft Tacos
06/10/15 2:00pm

Cupcake ATM, Sprinkles, 4014 Westheimer Rd., Highland Village Shopping Center, Houston

Here’s the new view looking left as you exit the back front door of the Apple Store in Highland Village. The long-promised Cupcake ATM at the back of Sprinkles is all ready for its grand opening tomorrow at 4014 Westheimer. Why buy cupcakes from a glorified vending machine when you can walk in the store and have one handed to you by a real live person?


Sprinkles Redo
06/02/15 10:45am

WOODLAND HEIGHTS BUS MAPPERS TO METRO: YOUR NEW ROUTE PLAN MISSES THE TARGET Proposed New Bus Alignments Around Woodland Heights, HoustonMetro says it’ll be ready to go with its new bus network on August 16, but that hasn’t prevented various groups from petitioning the transit agency to make late adjustments to its route map. One group of Woodland Heights residents is trying to get the new 30 route, which late in the process was shifted east to parallel the new 44 route down Houston Ave into Downtown, shifted west to Watson, Taylor, and Sawyer streets between Pecore and Memorial Dr. before entering Downtown from the west. The current proposed alignment leaves the Sawyer Heights shopping center and its Target without a bus stop. [Not of It] Diagram: Philip Teague

05/20/15 3:45pm

Demolition of Robindell Shopping Center, 6711-6751 Bissonnet St. at Beechnut, Robindell, Houston

Can’t get enough of that old-shopping-center-knock-down action? Here, courtesy of the Brays Oaks management district, is a view of the carnage currently in progress at the Robindell Shopping Center, where the empty hulls of a slew of colorfully named businesses arrayed from 6711 to 6755 Bissonnet St. are meeting dusty ends. Hello to a new Aldi and company. But before that, a goodbye to Bigwick Liquor, Libreria Cristiana El Resplendor, Ana’s Multi Services, La Sultana Pupuseria, Delta X-Ray, Cute-Cut Salon $5, Eyebrow Threading Salon, and Trudi’s Birria de Chivo. Your ice cream at neighboring Baskin-Robbins will be spared.

Photo: Brays Oaks Management District

Make Way for Aldi
05/05/15 4:45pm

Woodridge Plaza Shopping Center, 6969 Gulf Fwy., Houston

Woodridge Plaza Shopping Center, 6969 Gulf Fwy., HoustonKing Dollar, Pizza Hut, Sherwin-Williams, Sun Loan, Mini’s Cleaners, Ruchi’s Taqueria, Schlotzky’s, Tiendo Rio Lempa, Denny’s, Hairtex & Nails, Nancy’s Cake Designs, Nationwide Insurance, Edible Arrangements, Todo Jewelry, Video Square, V Star (pictured here), and all of the businesses in the Woodridge Plaza shopping center at 6969 Gulf Fwy. — they’re all going away. The Houston Community College System wants to expand its Southeast College East Side Campus onto the 5.7-acre property to its south, on the north side of I-45 near Gulfgate. A reader who isn’t involved in the legal tussle, but who’s looked through the records on the county clerk’s website, describes the back-and-forth as laid out in the documents: “It looks like the special commissioners valued the shopping center at $12,500,000. Both the landowner, Compass Investors Group LLC, and HCCS objected and are seeking a trial for a higher, and a lower valuation, respectively. Texas Capital Bank is owed about $3.5 million on a mortgage on the property and also intervened. The landowner lawsuit is in Cause number 1043516 in County Court 4. HCCS also filed condemnation actions against all the tenants (cause 1057330 in County Court 4).”

Images: Moseley Commercial

The Taking of Woodridge Plaza
04/03/15 2:30pm

Whole Foods Market Under Construction, 11041 Westheimer Rd. at Wilcrest, Westchase, Houston

Crews have broken open the front of the former Randalls grocery store in the Westchase Shopping Center at the corner of Wilcrest and Westheimer, and are busy inserting a new, smaller Whole Foods Market inside. The photo above shows the view from the One Westchase Center office building, immediately to the east. This isn’t Whole Foods’ first Randalls redo; a new Whole Foods at 1407 S. Voss, on the former site of another Randalls, is scheduled to open next Wednesday.


Westchase Front
04/01/15 4:30pm

Robindell Shopping Center, 6751 Bissonnet St., Robindell, Houston

Robindell Shopping Center, 6751 Bissonnet St., Robindell, HoustonFor Trudi’s Birria de Chivo and other now-shuttered mainstays of the east corner of Bissonnet and Beechnut in Robindell, just down the road from Bayland Park, it’s all over except the asbestos-clearing and smashing. Going up in place of the 1956 Robindell Shopping Center, according to Sharpstown Civic Association, will be a new Aldi grocery store.

The site plan below for the center at 6751 Bissonnet St. predates the Aldi announcement, but shows a possible arrangement of freefloating buildings to replace the about-to-be-demolished retail row now backing up to Albacore Dr.:


Robindell Shopping Center Redo
03/17/15 11:00am

WHAT MICHAEL GRAVES BROUGHT TO HOUSTON Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, 1801 Allen Pkwy., North Montrose, HoustonIs Michael Graves personally to blame for the infestations of flattened pediments that began appearing on commercial building façades in the early nineties, and later morphed into the default “look” for the standard midsprawl shopping center? Not really. But the early acclaim his variety of postmodern design received did play some role in the license now apparently felt by thousands of lesser architects (and developers) to festoon dull commercial designs with all sorts of cartooned classical elements — and declare the result to be “traditional.” By the time the New Jersey-based architect designed his 2 Houston building projects in the early naughts, he had moved on to super-scaling other building elements: His Martel College and Master’s house at Rice and the Federal Reserve Bank (of Dallas!) on Allen Pkwy. (pictured above) are both dressed in a sort of Lego-like big-brick wallpaper, but one “drawn” using actual-size bricks. After an infection he contracted in 2003 left him paralyzed from the waist down, Graves became an outspoken champion of universal design. Graves passed away last week at the age of 80; Writer Michael Hardy has a remembrance of the man he calls “the architect Houston loved to hate.” [Houstonia] Photo: John D. Cramer

02/26/15 11:45am

H-E-B Nogalitos Market, 1601 Nogalitos St., San Antonio, Texas

H-E-B Bellaire Market, 5130 Cedar St., Bellaire, TexasThe new 70,000-sq.-ft. grocery store H-E-B is hoping to build to replace its current location near the intersection of Bissonnet St. and S. Rice Ave. in Bellaire (pictured in the bottom photo) may fit most of its parking space underneath the store. Speaking to Bellaire residents at a meeting earlier this week, officials from the company described an option that would require demolition of the entire shopping center at 5100 Cedar St. — including the existing 20,000-sq.-ft. H-E-B store and all adjacent stores. In its place would go up a 70,000-sq.-ft. store with parking underneath and in front. All shopping would be on the second floor.

To help describe the concept, officials showed images of the company’s store on Nogalitos St. in San Antonio (pictured in the top photo), which opened last month. That store, which is only 62,000 sq. ft., features a first-floor parking garage and a “travelator” (similar to one of the escalators installed to connect the garage to the entrance of the new Post Oak Blvd. Whole Foods Market) to move shoppers and their carts between levels. (The low structure in front of the building is a preserved section of the façade of the previous store on that site.)


Upper Level Groceries
02/19/15 11:30am

Proposed Oaks on Shepherd Shopping Center, 4000 N. Shepherd Dr., Independence Heights, Houston

Sears, 4000 N. Shepherd St., Garden Oaks, HoustonA scheme to demolish the 1949 Sears building at 4000 N. Shepherd Dr. and the Pine Forest Business Park behind it and replace it with an “Americana”-themed shopping center headlined by a new Sears store and a supermarket is only part of an unsolicited proposal sent to the national retailer, a representative of Weingarten Realty tells Swamplot. A brochure describing aspects of the proposal, which would replace the Streamline Moderne department store between Garden Oaks and Independence Heights with a higher density shopping center that the body copy implied would be styled in a manner akin to the residential designs of Frank Lloyd Wright, was posted online by the publicly traded REIT earlier this week.


Oaks on Shepherd
02/18/15 1:00pm

Proposed Oaks on Shepherd Shopping Center, 4000 N. Shepherd Dr., Independence Heights, Houston

Proposed Oaks on Shepherd Shopping Center, 4000 N. Shepherd Dr., Independence Heights, Houston

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.


Oaks on Shepherd
01/28/15 12:45pm

A LIST OF 17 FASHIONABLE HOUSTON NEWCOMERS HEADED FOR RIVER OAKS THIS YEAR WHO’LL END UP ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE TRACKS River Oaks District Under Construction, Highland Village, HoustonJohn Lobb, Akris, Kiton, Moncler, De Boulle, Giuseppe Zanotti, Etro, Chopard, Canali, Brunello Cucinelli, Brioni, Diptyque, Bonobos, Intermix. Haven’t heard of ’em? Well, how about Tom Ford, Roberto Cavalli, and Dolce & Gabbana? They’re all luxury retailers who are new to Houston, and who’ll be arriving here about the same time that OliverMcMillan’s long-awaited (but not-so-accurately named) River Oaks District opens up on Westheimer between the Galleria and the Highland Village Shopping Center — only a mile away from the actual neighborhood called River Oaks — sometime this spring. [Real Estate Bisnow; previously on Swamplot] Photo of River Oaks District under construction: OliverMcMillan