10/25/17 12:30pm

Café Ginger is already at work on its new outpost in its next West Gray St. shopping center corner, taking the places vacated by both Mama Fu’s and Verts Mediterranean Grill. The Chinese food and sushi restaurant arrived at its original and current spot at the eastern end of the northern half of the River Oaks Shopping Center 8 years ago, taking over from a restaurant whose addition to the center was marked by the tacking-on of a flying-saucer-like corner tower to the previously low-slung art deco center. At the new spot at 1574 West Gray, on the western end of River Oaks Plaza, the endcap corner tower is already in place — it was there when the center was constructed.

But inside, there’s more construction to do: As new signs on the doors announce, the new location is scheduled to open in March of next year. That’s the same month Weingarten Realty plans to hold the groundbreaking for the Driscoll tower — directly on top of Café Ginger’s current spot.

Photos: Margo (River Oaks Plaza); Katie Schon (River Oaks Shopping Center)

End Cap Tales
10/23/17 9:45am

Halloween is almost upon us, and again the full-store gift wrapping and Christmas trees have gone up at the Highland Village shopping center — as these pics sent in by a reader show.

You now have 9 full shopping weeks before Christmas (and a little less than 5 before Thanksgiving), but if you’re still getting your gifts ready for Halloween next Tuesday, you’d better hurry.

Photos: Swamplot inbox

 

 

’Tis the Preseason
10/19/17 11:00am

Here are a few shots of 195 Yale St. just south of I-10 from yesterday afternoon, showing workers a few letters away from spelling out the long-delayed LA Fitness at the Yale Street Market shopping center. The sign, which faces the freeway, was completed by the end of the day:

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Fitn In
10/02/17 1:30pm

Pet Supermarket in Meyerland Plaza has reopened after taking on water after Hurricane Harvey, but it appears to be an exception among big-box stores lined in a row on the former mall site. Signs in front of Old Navy, OfficeMax, and Dressbarn declare the stores are closed — and direct customers to other locations, according to these photos and a report from a Swamplot reader. Here’s the scene in front of Old Navy, where notes in the window declare the store is closed “until further notice“:

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Old Navy Underwater
06/14/17 11:15am

Across and a little bit down the street from the site where the company proposes to tear down an already altered section of the River Oaks Shopping Center and erect a 29-story apartment tower with 2 floors of underground parking, Weingarten Realty has more plans to make changes to the landmark art deco center. At the corner of West Gray and McDuffie, the company wants to tear down the 2-story western end of the south half of the 1948 section of the shopping center — which now houses a California Pizza Kitchen and the remains of the Evolve Fitness Studio upstairs (and was previously the site of a Birraporetti’s with Sherlock’s Pub above it) — and reconstruct the section as a 12,730-sq.-ft. Perry’s Steakhouse & Grille with significantly taller first and second stories.

The design, by Chicago’s Aria Group Architects, “will maintain historical features” of the building at 1997 West Gray St., the submitted plans (PDF) explain. But not exactly in the same order. Stick-on stone facing was stuck onto lower portions of this section of the art deco structure in 2007 when it was given a new stucco-batter coating and turned into a CPK; the new design shows a tall curved panel of limestone wrapping the corner, but this time on the higher second floor, suspended above a rebuilt portion of the center’s signature curved soffit.

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Raising Perry’s Steakhouse
06/13/17 4:30pm

In advance of a public hearing scheduled for this Thursday, Weingarten Realty has submitted these drawings of the 29-story apartment tower it’s calling the Driscoll, and which it’s proposing to build across the from the northern end of Driscoll St. The site at 1958 W. Gray also happens to be occupied currently by the eastern end of the 69-year-old northern portion of the River Oaks Shopping Center, which has city historic landmark status despite the numerous inconsistent alterations Weingarten has made to the Art Deco complex over the years. As suggested by the included diagram above, the tower will knock out most of one wing of the complex, leaving Brasserie 19 in place, but deleting 18,000 sq. ft. of space currently housing Café Ginger, Local Pour, and some office space above — as well as 2-and-a-half bays of parking to the east.

As part of its package for the required hearing before the Houston Archaeological and Historical Commission, Weingarten presented this photographic evidence in support of its claim that its existing property, which it altered significantly during renovations conducted in 2011, is in a “deteriorated state“:

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Here Comes the Driscoll
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:

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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:

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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?

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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.

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Westchase Front