In and Around the New North Montrose Whole Foods

A few details on that new Whole Foods Market planned for the corner of West Dallas and Waugh, just south of the now AIG-sign-free America Tower: Finger Companies, the owners of the land, says the new store will be 40,000 sq. ft. — slightly smaller than reported when the company first announced the project more than a year ago. Also: The store will have “a variety of eco-conscious elements and tons of inviting space for neighbors to congregate.”

The Finger Companies says the Whole Foods will be built “in conjunction with the developer’s proposed new luxury apartment project.” That project, also announced in the spring of 2008, was slated for the eastern portion of the site, closer to Montrose Blvd.

Image: The Finger Companies

28 Comment

  • Glad to see the project isn’t dead even though I’m not a Whole Foods shopper.

    This should pull some of the crowd out of the Kroger on 11th and maybe lightened the crowd at the Whole Foods at Kirby.

  • Seriously? This is *just* 2 miles from the other “new” one. People that live in between the locations will be befuddled as to which location to drive their SUV a whole 5,000 feet.

  • where is this new info coming from? they haven’t been doing anything out there at the site in a long time. if they aren’t going to build it until the highrise goes in, then we will be waiting ten years or so.

  • Wasn’t there some conjecture that there are unmarked post-Civil War graves on that plot?

  • @the original Jay: Swamplot always links to sources when they are online. The Chronicle story you link to and our story both stem from a press release issued by a Finger Companies publicist.

  • Yes, this location is “only” about 2.5 miles (driving distance) from the WFM at Kirby & Alabama. However, in addition to serving North Montrose and the Washington corridor, this location considerably shortens the drive from two areas with good demographics (from Whole Foods’ perspective), but that are underserved in terms of quality grocery stores: the Heights and Midtown.
    Convenient access to Allen Parkway and Memorial probably doesn’t hurt, either.

  • If y’all count the Whole Foods planned for Blvd. Place, there will be 3 stores for a 5 mile radius in Central Houston.

    Seems like this one should be relocated further North to prevent cannibalization.

  • Count me as not being a fan of this development. Waugh is already too busy (and only recently got decently-timed red lights); this development is going to make driving up and down Waugh a perpetual headache.

    Plus, there is already a very useable Kroger on West Gray. The few things that Kroger doesn’t carry I can get at Central Market, where the prices are cheaper and the staff is a lot more pleasant than at Whole Foods.

    Additionally, should a new apartment complex be built at that location, I don’t see how Fingers isn’t cannibalizing its own market, as they already have two apartment complexes very close by.

    The whole thing is a head-scratcher to me.

  • Actually, there was a sign saying WF was coming to this location about 2 years ago.

    I am sure the developers sweetened the pot. History shows, in other markets, that having a WF on site raises occupancy rates for residential in a dramatic way.

  • Seems like this one should be relocated further North to prevent cannibalization.


  • I live about 3 blocks from the site and noticed some new activity there last week. Someone had gone around the entire perimeter and dug post holes in the soil, spaced about a foot apart. Not sure it if is for a fence, or just soil samples.

    I’m very happy that the project is going forward; I had more or less given up on it.

  • Given the fact that the founder of Whole Foods believes the answer to our health care crisis is just to eat healthy and buy healthy foods at Whole Foods, I no longer buy anything at Whole Foods.

    The majority of people who probably would benefit from eathing healthier diets can’t afford to eat healthier diets. And they certainly can’t afford to buy healthy foods at Whole Foods. But those who can, of course, will. After all, it’s so “chi-chi” to carry your groceries into your $1,000 a month box in those cute Whole Food bags. Impresses the neighbors.

  • ^Matt: You are SO cynical! Experts believe that’s bad for your health, btw, though I totally hear you – Whole Foods is expensive and out of the reach & awareness of most. I tend to pass through the store as if in a museum full of look-but-don’t-touch items, yet still I wish they’d put one in MY ‘hood for the convenience of getting great teas, supplements and meats.
    ^Terry: “Seems like this one should be relocated further North to prevent cannibalization.”
    A hundred years ago – no not really – in the 80’s, WF wanted to expand into the suburbs (Cypress area or Woodlands area) to grow their brand and capture all the yuppies there. But all of a sudden, the company became a behemoth and is saturating Houston’s inner loop instead! New day, new strategy I guess. Somehow I feel it would still be better for them to expand their market into my area…
    (psst: Spring/Conroe)

  • And a pleasant good evening to you, Suwoop Gang.

  • I think it’s a great location for something like Whole Foods, though I wish it was going to be a Central Market; I stopped going to the Kirby/Alabama store a long time ago because it’s a nightmarish experience, and my reaction to the Boulevard Place location was “that’s nice, but there’s no way I will drive over to that god-forsaken part of town.”

    What I really wish is that the grocery stores here in the Heights were less crappy. There are plenty of people eager to shop at a nice store with good produce and which carries ingredients discovered after 1959 and food that wasn’t designed in a lab to be eaten while driving and texting. Sadly, the owners of Kroger and Fiesta haven’t figured this out.

  • I’m still wishing they’d turn the Kroger on West Gray into something–ANYTHING!-else. High prices and extremely rude (and lazy) workers. An HEB would be great!

  • Don’t be hatin on the Fiesta. The big one up Shepherd has great seafood and a decent natural foods section, and the teeny one on Studemont has gathered their organics and refrigerated natural foods (fake meat, real yogurt) right by the pretty good wine section, making it easy to get in and out in a flash.

    I appreciate Fiesta’s trying to tweak for each neighborhood. And their produce is better than Kroger.

  • OK, so I am a day late and a dollar short here, but I think Thorn’s post here– #11 — was hysterical. My vote for Comment of the Day

  • One would like to think this would nucleate a pedestrian or cyclist-oriented shopping environment in that part of the city, with residential developments planned to the east and west further along West Dallas. Doubtless however it will be typical Houston stock: vast carpark out front with the store set well back, presenting a formiadable challenge to anyone wanting to patronize the shop on foot or on a bicycle.

  • The problem with hoping for a pedestrian-friendly paradise in this area is that the streets around this development, especially Waugh, are exceedingly unpleasant to walk across or along.

  • Oh I agree, I’ve done it many times. Problem with many Houston sidewalks is they are too narrow. I’m okay with trees but why is there ALWAYS a 2-3 foot wide grass verge next to the road? Even West Ave, touted as a pedestrian friendly development has the same thing on the Kirby side, so that the sidewalk ends up looking like an anorexic caterpillar.

  • Harold Hook, retired chairman of American General put this super block together more than a decade ago, he had an impressive master plan but his poor choice for a successor sold AG to the wrong buyer (AIG) and the rest is history still being written, what was the name of the cafeteria that was on this corner forever?

  • All the people complaining about traffic on West Gray and Waugh area, should consider moving out to the surbs. This is what happens when you do not have mass transit or you are not active with your local government to get it.

    This is a really great location. It is perfect for bikers from Midtown and a little closer for Washington and Heights folks. There is a market for this and other locations in the growing inner loop. A former Weingarten VP told me recently that this a real coup for Fingers. They expect inner loop Houston to grow a lot more in the near future when new numbers of residents and income come out after 2010 census. Whole Foods on West Alabama had no growth potential. This will be the flagship Whole Foods for Houston. I doubt the new Post Oak will ever reach that.

    I may not shop regularly at Whole Foods, but I am a fan of organic foods. But they are the only place I know that sell non-processed breads and tortillas. It is way better than a Home Depot or Best Buy box store, or even a box Kroger.

  • The cafeteria was Allbritton’s.

    A friend pointed out that the “WFM coming soon” signs that used to be on this lot are no longer there. Is this project still a go?

  • I am glad that somebody removed the long line of dead bushes along Waugh, on the AIG property I believe, at that location. No watering over the hottest, driest summer I can remember left behind a deep fried mess.

  • Eh, have you tried crossing over Memorial on Waugh recently on a bicycle? Take the road and you risk being swept off it. Take the 24″ wide sidewalk and the pedestrian railing is somewhere round your knees, one good gust of wind and you’re off to the big West End Bicycle store in the sky. Heaven help you if meet anyone coming the other way. COH infrastructure for bicycles blows to high heaven, and there’s little incentive for it to evolve. This store is positioned for four wheeled traffic coming off Memorial, plain and simple. Any gestures they make to foot traffic will be an afterthought

  • irfan, I have to concur. Whole Foods sells way better bread and tortillas than does Home Depot or Best Buy. I tried a tortilla from HD once, and it tasted like particle board. …oh, wait!