Meet Railway Heights: The New Wash Ave Food Hall and Beer Garden with a 600-Car Automated Garage Out Back

The owners of the 22,860-sq.-ft. warehouse at the bend where Wash Ave becomes Hempstead Rd. have plans to refashion the building as Houston’s latest food hall, complete with 25-plus restaurant tenants, a few grocery and trinket vendors, and an adjacent beer garden — all fronting 22,000-sq.-ft.-worth of park space. Aside from homonymous salad bar concept Let Us, no specific tenants have been announced for the space yet — formerly home to the Emmett Perry oriental rug store and Sugar Creek Interiors’ design studio. But the developer hints that most food stalls at Railway Heights will be of the fresh-never-frozen variety, staffed by “the farmer who reared the animal, the fisherman who caught the fish, the baker who baked the bread.

Later on, plans call for a 600-car automatic parking garage (about 2-and-a-half-times the size of that other robo-valet proposed next to Tacos A Go Go on White Oak) to be added on to the site at 8200 Washington, along with a complex of “container apartments” in the southeast corner of the things. Along with the food hall, they’ll all go in the area marked red in the map above, across the train tracks from InTown Homes’ forthcoming Cottage Grove Lake community.

The map below shows how the site will layout in greater detail:


A few more conceptual views from the east show the promenade that runs between the food hall and the planned green space:

It’s backed by benches that front the lawn:

Here’s a park view from the south off Wash Ave:

And a more impressionistic look from the west:

The far west end of things is where the beer garden holds court. It’s mapped out below:

Two adjoining patios labeled G and C are quenched by at least one, but maybe 2 bars depending on how a shipping container planned for the site gets cast.

Eager drivers won’t have to wait for the high-tech parking garage planned as part of the project’s second phase; a few more traditional, DIY parking spots are slated along the entrance driveway that runs north into the site from Wash Ave.:

You can catch another glance of them here in this view from the east:

Images: Centric Commercial

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16 Comment

  • somehow finding 25 vendor tenants isnt enough fantasy land for you? well we’re also going to build a 600 spot automated garage. still not enough crazy? we’ll throw in “container apartments”.

  • Two things:
    (1) This Heights “name creep” is dumb and getting out of hand. Nothing west of T.C. Jester could even be remotely confused for “The Heights.” Be more creative, developers!
    (2) No way I’m even thinking of using an automated parking garage. Knowing my luck, my car will get smooshed like what happened with that Jaaaag F-Type R at that apartment building in Chicago or wherever.

  • Well that’s what’s finally happening to the site the Boneyard used to be at….

    They paved paradise, to put up a high-tech automated parking lot.

  • @Donald (not that one)

    I’m sorry I keep on having to bang this drum, but clearly the rule is north of I-10 is The Heights. I’m pretty sure you can look it up in the city charter… somewhere towards the back…

  • Automated garages are far more space-efficient than traditional parking structures, since there are no ramps, no door clearance, and lower floor-to-ceiling heights. If an automated garage can be done for less than $20,000 per space, then the land value cost at which structured parking makes sense drops to less than $60/sf. There is a LOT of dirt inside the loop that goes for more than that. Which means, if this type of parking catches on, that the amount of leaseable square footage per acre could triple.

  • Pretty sure Frank is building the homes behind the car park deal. Davids development is north on Hempstead outside of the picture.

  • @Angostura
    Alright, which automated garage company do you work for? That’s the second time you’ve popped in to sing the praises of robo-valets.
    With any luck, automated garages will finally start becoming commonplace right as automated vehicle ride sharing/expanded and improved mass transport renders vehicle ownership (and therefore parking) obsolete for the vast majority of people.*
    *But not me, no away I’m turning in my keys anytime soon.

  • I’m trying to understand why someone would prefer to take 10 to 20 minutes of their life to drive up five ramps, find a parking spot, find the elevator and then do it all over again when they leave. I really do want to understand what the hesitation is behind handing over your keys. If you can keep your keys, does that change anything? I assume you have a similar attitude towards valet?

  • To rise to Angostura’s defense, one can comment on any number of topics and not have a dog in the hunt. Perhaps Angostura is just an automated-garage aficionado or President of the Houston Auto-Garage Society (HAGS) (I made this up so don’t go looking for it.)?
    That being said, I’m ambivalent about automated garages. Valet parking: oh, boy, do I hate that!

  • 100% of the valets I have ever used did not know how to drive a standard-shift car. I realize that’s anecdata, but the problem will only get worse as time goes by and people forget how to drive. I might use a robo-garage, but only if it costs about what a metered spot goes for, or less.

  • My admittedly limited experience with an automated parking garage is confined to one I used in Boston circa 1980.
    It was easy. Pull the car up onto what looks like a grease rack, shut it off and leave. The car disappears into the innards of the building.
    No walking or searching or backing up or ramps or cussing at people who don’t stay in their parking space. Retrieving the car took maybe 1 – 2 minutes – about the same as driving out of a conventional garage.

    What’s not to like?

  • Adacent to one of the most confusing road interchanges I’ve ever encountered. If you thought traffic circles were vexing to Houstonians, try to go north on Hempstead from west bound Katy Rd, or west bound on Katy Rd from south bound Hemstead….then add beer and people who are lost to the mix.

  • @Mixitup

    Yes, I abhor turning over my keys to anyone, including valets. Especially after some nitwit at JiffyLube once drove my car into the well and they had to get a tow truck to lift it out. I once saw two valets crash into each other outside of Brennen’s and several close calls on other occasions. They wont take responsibility for dings or scratches and neither will the restaurant etc… And I’ve had my things rifled through and so have my friends.

    I also resent it when places with PLENTY of parking cone off all the spots forcing you to valet even if there are 100 empty spots and they only drive your car 5 feet and then you have to wait for them to get your car (or at least your keys) back afterwards when it’s RIGHT THERE!

    My paid off car is my biggest tangible asset and I don’t like giving control over it to a stranger.

  • @Mixitup
    I’ve only ever driven manual transmission cars, and the few times I’ve tried to give valet parking a chance, they’ve either stalled my car or made an attempt to burn up my clutch. As others in the comment section have said, very few valets know how to drive a manual at all, much less in a reasonably prudent manner without potentially damaging the vehicle.
    But, my comment was more about general resistance to automated vehicles. I actually enjoy driving (even in traffic), and I’d prefer to keep doing so as long as possible.

  • Please please please quit using the Heights tag for things outside of the Heights. The Heights name creep has almost made it to 610 west!!! Before we know it, a new hot spot will be called “The Heights overpriced experience at Bunker Hill.”

  • Yes….paved te Boneyard, for a parking lot and this hot mess.