Here Comes the Idylwood Walmart; Making Room for the San Felipe Skyscraper

9807 and 9811 katy freeway construction

Photo of construction at 9807 and 9811 Katy Fwy.: elnina via Swamplot Flickr Pool


19 Comment

  • Sure ridiculous PR to be calling the area surrounding the Wayside WalMart a food desert. There’s Fiesta a few blocks to the north and HEB a few exits down the freeway. What they really meant is that is was a cheap Chinese-made consumer crap desert.

  • Cue the Wal-Mart hate

  • Food desert is the cliche of 2014.

  • While I’m no fan of Walmart, I at least applaud their effort for opening in a area most national or even local grocers have stayed away from. The whole East End is truly a food desert when compared to the insane amounts of grocery options within blocks of each other on the west end. We have a ridiculously tiny old Kroger, and a Fiesta and a HEB that are both to far away, IMO.

  • The East End does want more grocers, but calling it a “food desert” is too extreme in my opinion. As mentioned, there is a Kroger, the new Walmart, and a Fiesta, plus the Gulfgate HEB. There are also three Sellers Bros. grocery stores (one just south of the Gulf Freeway) and a number of Hispanic markets.

    If anything’s extreme, it’s the explosion in food retailers on the inner west side (not including the Heights). I guess I can understand yuppies who have pioneered the East End and EaDo longing for that kind of bounty, especially when your nearest local option is Kombat Kroger.

  • West of Downtown inside the loop, there are 8 Krogers, 3 Whole Foods, 4 HEBs, 4 Randalls, 3 Fiestas, 2 Fresh Markets, Walmart, Costco, 3 Targets and a Sprouts coming soon.

    On the east side of Downtown there are 2 HEBs (Gulfgate was going to close, but stayed thanks to a tax deal from the City), 1 Kroger, 5 Fiestas and soon to be a Walmart.

    The west side has almost thirty major grocery retailers. The east side has 8. The section of the East side from 59 and I-45 to 610 has only a Fiesta and Kroger until the Walmart opens. The East side does have a number of smaller independent grocers (Sellers, Michoacana, etc.). Sellers does a reasonable job stocking produce, but the rest of the independents lack the buying power of the major grocers and have either higher prices or inferior or scarce produce. The smaller independents have pretty outrageous prices as they know that many of the customers are captive due to lack of transportation and may spend WIC money without regard for prices as they must spend all of it each month or lose it.

  • Gulfgate HEB was never actually going to close. It was a ploy and the COH caved. That store is and was always packed!

  • As long as there are feet, bicycles, and bus lines, there are no ‘food deserts’. Everything is always someone else’s fault to some people.

  • The HEB 380 says that “the Tenant is contemplating closing it’s H-E-B grocery store currently located on the Property in the Gulfgate Shopping Center, due to the poor economic conditions of the area and inadequate amount of revenue generated by the store in that location”

    it doesn’t say that HEB would close without the 380, just that HEB contemplated closing it. Anybody can contemplate anything. It doesn’t mean they’re going to do it.

    It’s just another of Mayor Parker’s tax giveaways for no valid reason.

  • I agree with the “food desert” being way too dramatic of a term. It will be convenient with the Wal Mart right there, for Wal Mart type goods…but the groceries are certainly not a big draw for me at least. The building looks complete on the outside, and the comparatively small lot filled with cars for workers I guess. Now all we need is the traffic, haha.

  • OldSchool, yes there are almost 3x as many large grocers to the west of I-45 as to the east, but consider the gross domestic incomes of the 2 areas. Since we’re including River Oaks, Afton Oaks, West U, and Southampton on the west side, I’d say the west side of the loop has at least 3x the gross income as the east side ( and probably much more). Those grocery chains want to capture as much of that income as possible, so they cast a wider net to separate the haves from their food dollars.

  • Also, the east side has very large areas without residential population (industrial areas, UH, the Port, etc.) – probably much more so than the west / southwest Inner Loop – plus most of that residential population lives at pretty low densities. I’m too lazy to look up the Census info now, but I’m willing to venture that ratio of full-scale supermarkets to population (the per capita figure) isn’t as dramatically different for the two areas as the absolute number of stores. Of course the differences in disposal income will also make a difference; the total difference occurs because of a combination of those two factors.

  • * disposable

  • Just because someone criticizes Metro rail as a “toy train” doesn’t necessarily signify anti-rail. Speaking only for myself, I think the rail that has been implemented here is a joke and speaks to limited mentality which seems to be pervasive among all types of transportation officials in this region. Bass ackward is the rule of the day. There is no reason the rail (which is a glorified street car) needed to be at grade thereby negatively impacting the traffic it was supposedly designed to alleviate (though this joke of a spoke system we have probably never had that in mind). Maybe if it were elevated to allow unimpeded cross traffic or it actually went somewhere that would take commuters (meaning freeway drivers) off the road, then people would be more supportive. As it stands, we have spent billions to simply replace bus lines so forgive me if this Metro incarnation seems like nothing more than a pork barrel jobs program that has made no real impact on congestion or quality of life. I really want to see
    all of you tote 10 bags of groceries, or carry all of your kids sports gear or take the dog to the vet on a train. If this were Paris or London, I’d get it. But the reality is that the City developed as an auto oriented place. There is only so much that can be done without massive re-development.

  • Quality and selection are sadly lacking in most of the East End grocery stores mentioned in this “Comments” section. That’s why folks who live there drive across town to shop.

    @pffft: Your comment assumes that everyone is able to walk, cycle or ride the bus to get to a full-line grocery store. Guess you’ve never seen anyone with limited physical mobility, or any parents with small kids and no car.

  • JT… the reason the rail is not elevated, as it should be, is that the fat asses, or about 80% of the population, could not drag themselves upwards.

  • Artfox- These people don’t have family members? They don’t have friends? They don’t have neighbors to help them? Why did they have kids if they weren’t able to go get them food? Some people are so full of excuses and self pity…

  • JT: How does your commuting experience by Bus & Rail compare with the days when you only had the Bus? Oh, you’ve never used either low-class means of travel.

    Nobody is going to take your SUV away from you. But many of us enjoy having other options. (Those bike racks on the buses are used, too!)

  • Maggie May. My issue with the rail is not about the patrons so dust that chipmoff your shoulder. And fyi, I don’t own an SUV or luxury car. Youre right in that I do not ride the rail as it goes nowhere of interest or necessity to me. But after riding the bus for a year when I worked downtown and lived near 610/59 and experiencing constant delays, bumpier than hell rides and a personal aversion to standing in the rain, cold, heat etc…..,I decided to cut my commute time in half by driving. It was well worth paying for parking and having the freedom to work longer hours or not be constricted by time tables. All I’m saying is this particular version of a rail system , in my opinion, is not worth the costs to the taxpayers.