Hines Replacing Cafe Adobe With Apartment Building — Just Not This One

This rendering of the apartment building that Hines is replacing Cafe Adobe with isn’t current, says a company rep. And details about the building are few — though the rep says that the midrise Hines is planning for the soon-to-be-former restaurant and parking lot at Westheimer and South Shepherd will contain 215 units and no retail space.


Cafe Adobe opened at 2111 Westheimer about 30 years ago. Yesterday, abc13’s Miya Shay ran with the out-of-date rendering and reported, moreover, that some neighbors seem worried about the impact the development could have on the intersection — but Hines says in a statement that the comings and goings of the residents and visitors of 215 apartments “will likely be far less disruptive to the neighborhood than the existing busy Mexican restaurant.”

If all goes according to these non-plans, construction could begin in July.

Images: Hines via abc13 (rendering), Candace Garcia (Cafe Adobe)

30 Comment

  • Im so glad to see Cafe Adobe closing. Over the years I’ve overheard several conversations where people just aren’t entirely sure why people are still eating there. It reminds me of La Mexicana with less govt cheese.


  • Congrats to Hines on killing the possibility for a mixed-use development in arguably one of the city’s busiest and most well-known intersections. Who would want retail there? You know, aside from all the other people who stop at all the other stores nearby?

  • With no retail?? There are so many big apt complexes going in and seems like zero commercial or retail. Where is everyone going to eat??

  • I wonder why no retail. Would have been good for the intersection.

  • Typical Hines. Are they going to close Peckham St.?

  • To the folks asking “why no retail?”: the financial community is still generally skeptical about retail occupancy and rents in a vertical mixed-use format in Houston, especially if there’s no parking lot in front. Even if a developer is optimistic and puts ground floor retail in the development program, lenders will discount or disregard the pro forma rent coming from that space. Thus you end up in the pro forma adding construction costs without generating additional return (the lenders probably don’t assign premiums to the residential for a mixed-use environment either). This lowers the project value which lowers the amount of the loan and adds risk. So, financially all signals are for the developer to stick with single-use in Houston.

    Also, most multifamily developers are just that, developers only of multifamily. They don’t want to do have to deal with a use they don’t know how to handle, especially if there’s no indication of significant financial reward.

  • I don’t think all of these new apartment complexes could support the additional retail on the bottom floor of all these apartment complexes.

    The beauty of this market is that it is self correcting. If the increase in residences leads to an under-supply of retail space, retail rents will increase, and someone will build more retail. I think it is better to have a short run shortage of retail space and allow the market to respond.

    What if instead each of these new complexes had built retail on the bottom floor? We would be stuck with a bunch of vacant retail space (and fewer residents), for who knows how long.

    How easy is it really, to build a single mixed use building(exasperated by mandatory parking minimums). Wouldn’t you have to have a garage for the residents, and separate parking for the shoppers. Two separate garages for one building seems rather unwieldy. Using surface parking for the commercial part greatly reduces your available building area.

  • Does this development include the gas station?

  • What was the point of a rendering that will look nothing like the developement that will ultimately be built? I’m with all the other posts on the subject of retail. Why on Earth would you not have retail? Ummm, didn’t Hines develop The Galleria? and no, I’m not the least bit sad to see Cafe Adobe bite the dust, I had a horrid blind date there once and the food was almost as bad as the guy.

  • Well, this just continues the spiraling down of Montrose and mid town. There have been a lot of changes in the past 5 years as the old guard continues to leave – or be thrown out.

  • I hope they build a highrise instead of a midrise

  • exiting this new building during peak school drop off and pick hours maybe really hectic. the streets can’t handle the traffic now at rush hour. One school is 25 yards away and another school about 1/4 mile down the street. oh well.

  • Look at the retail around the corner from this development. A crappy electronics repair place, a video game store, cell phone store, and an “Environmentally Friendly” dry cleaner.

    Not exactly the kind of retail you want to base a largish portion of your future income on.

    Also, traffic sucks at that corner. Adding retail will make it worse.

  • Why on Earth would you want a highrise on that corner? It’s busy enough! I can only imagine the congestion with St Anne’s school and a 30 story highrise. It’s obvious you don’t actually live in this area or you would know how horrid the traffic is at this location!

  • @shannon what difference does it make in regards to traffic if it is a highrise or midrise ? If its 215 units then it still will be 215 units. Doesn’t matter if it is built as a midrise or highrise it’s still the same number of units. 5 stories or 30 stories still the same amount of units and traffic.

  • There is enough retail in that area already! Lots of eating places too. Maybe the Randall’s will get some business from these apartments. Randall’s a really a beautiful store, but unfortunately they are too proud of it with high prices and no customers….

  • Shannon, is there anything you’re not angry about?

  • There’s a two-story strip mall right across Shepherd from this place and a big apartment building right beyond that. I don’t think this is out of character with the neighborhood (or lacking in retail) at all.

  • Retail? If you cross the street you hit a busy strip center anchored by a grocery store. Walk two blocks to get to restaurants. Cross the street to go to church, or another block for school. It’s also in walking distance of a gas station, two service stations, two convenience stores, three bohemian coffee shops, a book store, clothing, antiques and pet supplies. The complex will do fine without more retail. You need to walk half a block to get that kolache, anyway.

  • Whatever happened to the supposed high rise on the corner of Shepherd and Alabama where Ruchis is?

  • I’d be interested to hear some of the statistics on occupancy rates of all these new ginormous apartment complexes. Is the demand really that great? With all the apartment madness going on in the area, it seems like by 2014 when all the construction has settled, the market is going to be inundated with empty apartments.

  • There is more than enough retail within a half mile radius to support the future residents of this building and everyone who wants to can walk to the vaunted Trader Joe’s as well as West Ave if they want to.
    As I have said dozens of times, there is not
    a gaggle of independent retailers wanting to open cute stores and God knows you people don’t want nail salons, fast food franchises and dry cleaners.

  • @Local Planner: couldn’t have stated it better myself. In addition, if there WAS retail in the ground floor, where are the people going to park? On Packham? I used to own on that street and parking was a mess pretty much all the time. Unless the apartment garage would be opened to retail shoppers, it would be non-existent…not exactly the best way to attract retail.

  • What a great place to live and a Malibu Tan right around the corner.. Perfect!

  • I’d be interested to hear some of the statistics on occupancy rates of all these new ginormous apartment complexes. Is the demand really that great? With all the apartment madness going on in the area, it seems like by 2014 when all the construction has settled, the market is going to be inundated with empty apartments.


    Easy – call up any one of the nicer big complexes in the area and see how long the wait is for their “lower end” $1500/month units

  • Cafe Adobe once had their changeable sign reading: “Cafe Adobe, where it’s easy to be the best.” I had to drive by a second time to make sure I read it right.

  • Since you cannot currently make a left turn from Shepherd and it’s hard to make a left on that first side street west of the intersection because it’s so close to the traffic light, I predict traffic troubles. The lack of a dedicated turn lane along most of Shepherd has doomed other developments.

  • Highrise’s cast huge shadows and would probably come with a higher unit ratio. Yes, I’m not pleased with most of this high density developement with little or no public transportation–it will be gridlock–of all the places for Light Rail, this was the place–but no!!!!, we can’t have rail here!, it might bring noise and undesirables, as if cars aren’t noisy and criminals can’t drive, so Houston