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
08/09/18 9:45am

Ground beef chain BuffBurger is about to move into the new Citywest Retail Center 3 blocks outside Beltway 8 and just down the street from Phillips’s year-old headquarters and garage-top sports complex. So far, the strip center’s lineup includes almost exclusively food joints of the fast-casual variety, with a lone Ideal Dental office in middle of the east building. Its coming soon sign is pictured in the photo above, west of Yogurtland.

BuffBurger’s spot — its third since opening in the new Alabama Row strip across W. Alabama from the Menil in March — is in the shorter and stouter east building, where it’ll fill in corner at the far end from Panera’s already-open endcap:

CONTINUE READING THIS STORY

Westchase
08/02/18 1:00pm

Both Pi Pizza and Star Fish have been locked out of their leases in the Washington Heights shopping center building on Heights Blvd. just south of White Oak Bayou and roughly across the street from the Art Car Museum, leaving the strip absent its 2 endcap tenants. Star Fish picked up where Bradley’s Fine Diner left off in the building’s north side about a year and a half ago, and the pizza parlor took over from Funky Chicken on the south end of things in 2016.

Pictured below is the notice a Swamplot reader found stuck to Pi’s storefront right around lunchtime:

CONTINUE READING THIS STORY

Off the Menu
07/27/18 11:45am

Although the lettering’s been gone from Abel Motors’ roadside sign since the auto shop moved in 2016, it’s still got a helpful pointer for passers-by: The Burger Joint is about to take the place over. Pictured above is what the dealership looked like on the northeast corner of Shepherd and 20th St. in its heyday. Since peeling out for a new spot at 9102 Airline Dr., its old digs have been transformed by the brick strip center pictured at top — soon to house the burger restaurant’s first venture north from its sole existing location on Montrose at Westheimer.

Another view of the new burger sign shows it’s still drawing a blank on lower-level messaging:

CONTINUE READING THIS STORY

Shifting Gears
06/21/18 10:30am

The shaggy customer base seeking a trim at the 1415 Richmond strip between Mandell and Yupon should see some increased biodiversity once The Pet Barber moves in 2-doors down from Henry’s Barber Shop. At nearly double the size of the neighboring human hair care facility, it’s ready to start transforming the space that once housed D&S Washateria (pictured at top) into a Castle Court companion to its existing Spring Branch grooming location.

The laundromat left sometime after Pepino’s gave way to Ms. Saigon Cafe and Michael’s Outpost on the west side of the building. Since then, The C Store also took off; its still-vacant Suite A — shown below in blue at the strip’s east end — is now the only hole left in the building:

CONTINUE READING THIS STORY

Well-Groomed
05/15/18 2:00pm

The signage above Fallas’ storefront — pictured above — has already come down, reports an employee of a neighboring business. Now on its way to that 25,480-sq.-ft. space in the chamfered corner of the L-shaped Northtown Plaza shopping center: Dallas supermarket El Rancho. A building permit was filed yesterday for the grocery conversion. It’s the second location that the North Texas chain has in the works for Houston; a Greenspoint location 6 miles up I-45 is planned to open in June.

But Fallas’ discount clothing presence won’t be entirely displaced by the new supermarket:

CONTINUE READING THIS STORY

Northtown Plaza
05/07/18 11:00am

SHIPLEY DONUTS WILL ROUND OUT THE NEW STRIP CENTER ON 28TH AND YALE Here’s one early sign of life at the new 8,040-sq.-ft. strip building that developer Ancorian recently finished putting up on the corner of Yale and 28th St. — 2 blocks south of the new Whole Foods that’s under construction on the N. Loop. When the coming Shipley Do-Nuts outlet opens at 2723 Yale., it’ll be a brand-new complement to what’s now the chain’s only Heights location, the standalone drive-thru on the corner of N. Main and Walton St. a few blocks west of I-45. (Shipley’s corporate office at 5200 N. Main is just under a mile up the road from that location.) Most recently demolished at 2723 Yale to make way for the new donut store and accompanying tenants: an L-shaped commercial building home to Heights Insurance and Multiservice that stood on the block for well over a decade. Photo: Swamplox inbox

04/02/18 11:30am

Longtime anchor tenant Randalls is getting ready to retreat from the west side of the Northbrook Shopping Center on 34th St. just off 290 in Oak Forest. A banner hung up on the front of the 54,806-sq-ft. space announces the liquidation sale now underway inside.

The grocery store neighbors GameStop and a Habitat for Humanity resale store in the 174,181-sq.-ft. strip:

CONTINUE READING THIS STORY

34th and 290
03/21/18 2:00pm

KING’S BIERHAUS OWNERS WILL HATCH EGGHAUS NEXT DOOR Egghaus Gourmet is what the father-and-son owners of King’s Bierhaus are planning to call the new breakfast restaurant they have planned next to their existing beer hall in the strip center on T.C Jester, just off Ella. The Chronicle’s Greg Morago reports that Hans and Philipp Sitter have already “secured the Egghaus space” on the east side of the building. Upon opening, the new restaurant will bring the tenant count of the 17,500-sq.-ft. strip to either 3 or 4, depending on the state of another neighboring business: Tea & Victory. Announced last September, the board game cafe is still in its incubation phase, but a representative now tells Swamplot it’s looking at an early April opening. [Houston Chronicle] Photo of 2042 and 2044 E. T.C. Jester: JJ J.

03/16/18 5:00pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: HOW TO MAKE YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD’S NEW STRIP CENTER MORE PEDESTRIAN-FRIENDLY “Just walk around to the other side and pretend that’s the front. Then the parking lot will be in the back! A walkable solution!” [Memebag, commenting on The Strip Center with Offices Above Planned for the Corner of Chimney Rock and San FelipeSite plan of Shops at Tanglewood proposed for San Felipe St. at Chimney Rock Rd.: Edge Realty

03/09/18 12:45pm

Crews are now clearing out the northern portion of the strip center at the corner of Airline Dr. and Parker Rd. that Kroger departed last year. The photo at top, sent in by a Swamplot reader, shows the no-longer-automatic doors fronting the former grocery store space next door to Tostada Regia, Yumar Beauty Salon, Texans Discount Liquor, and others.

A building permit filed just over a week ago on location at 6749 Airline lists its occupant as El Ahorro. The grocery chain specializing in Mexican foodstuffs already has one nearby spot in Northline — on Irvington Blvd. just north of Berry Rd.

CONTINUE READING THIS STORY

Dietary Cleanse
02/15/18 2:00pm

The skeleton of a new strip center across the street from the Alexan Yale St. apartments — dubbed Heights Village by a banner attached to its construction fencing — is now rising on the corner of Yale and W. 5th St. Construction began on the just-under-an-acre parcel last month, reports the Swamplot reader who snapped the above photo of the site from outside the Alexan complex. The corner — on the opposite end of the block from where Better Luck Tomorrow opened last year — had been vacant since 2010, when a warehouse on the site was demolished.

The aerial rendering above from Cisneros Design Studio shows what an upper-story Alexan Yale St. resident might see out the window when the retail center is complete. Parking lots hug the building on 3 sides and include entrances on Yale, 5th. St., and Yale Ct. — a short dead end that runs behind the property. Patio seating is shown fronting the chamfered corner on the building’s northwest quadrant, and an elevated walkway runs along its storefronts, a few steps up from the lot.

CONTINUE READING THIS STORY

Yale Retail
01/31/18 2:45pm

Which suits the new Washington Ave better: sidewalk-fronting buildings or strip centers? If ever there were a project that illustrated that fundamental choice, it’s this one. New exterior renderings from developer NewQuest show the block of Washington between Leverkuhn and Jackson Hill St., just west of Five Guys’s strip center spot, redone as Washington Central — a  shopping center with one building set back from the street and the other left out on the curb.

The 9,040-sq.-ft. planned strip center building shown fronting the parking lot in the renderings above provides some company for the existing brick building east of it. Planted on the corner of Washington and Leverkuhn since 1930, the 2-story structure has been empty since Guadalajara Bakery shuttered in it nearly 6 years ago.

New large windows open the bakery building — shown below with some legalese on its face — onto the street:

CONTINUE READING THIS STORY

Walk or Drive?
01/29/18 12:45pm

The newly built shopping center on the corner of W. Alabama and Mandell St. is of the business in the front, parking in the back variety — and will soon be even more so when 2 restaurants and a dentist’s office open in its ground floor. BuffBurger, new Vietnamese restaurant Lúa Viet Kitchen, and Lovett Dental are all slated to debut in the gray box with what look like wooden slats on its forehead, under construction since last January opposite the Menil’s territory in Montrose. TABC signage now up in BuffBurger’s window near the corner shows that the store — on its way to Mandell Place from its original location on Wirt Rd. — is seeking beverage permits ahead of its first business day.

A view from the sidewalk shows where the ground floor beef joint will fit in a 2,500-sq.-ft. space below the strip’s lettered-up corner tower:

CONTINUE READING THIS STORY

New Fillings
01/02/18 4:30pm

Flower Child — the health-minded restaurant that announced it was coming to Houston back in October — will take over the space that houses women’s clothing boutique BB1 Classic in the Cafe Express building at Uptown Park. Bidding is already underway for construction that will turn the 2-story, corner-side store into the new restaurant, whose owners already run North Italia and True Food Kitchen, both located in the same shopping center just south of Uptown Park on Post Oak Blvd. at the corner of San Felipe St.

Ads for a moving sale were posted on the high-fashion retailer’s Facebook page last Thursday. BB1 Classic’s current location opened in 2003. Before that, the store had spots in Memorial City, south of Uptown Park on Post Oak, in River Oaks, and in the Galleria.

Photo: BB1 Classic

Dining in Style