Midtown Gorilla Mural Habitat Destroyed To Make Room for Pearl-Laden Whole Foods

3100 Smith St., Midtown, Houston, 77006

The former Social Security Administration office at 3100 Smith St. and its gorilla-hawking mural wall are no more, following some weekend excavator grazing. Demo permits were issued last week for structure, which sat north of Elgin on part of the planned site of developer Morgan’s next Pearl-branded apartment development (the one with the built-in ground floor Whole Foods).

City permission for the planned mixed-use building to cozy up to the street were approved in February; the project will also straddle that now-closed segment of Rosalie St. between Smith and Brazos onto a section of the previously cleared block to the north.  Here’s what the layout might look like from above, per the plans included with the variance request:


3100 Smith St., Midtown, Houston, 77006

The early-spring variance approvals also included permission to extend a canopy shade structure further out than normally allowed at the corner of Elgin and Smith. Here’s a cross-section of the whole shebang from the east, showing the split-level grocery space sandwiched between 2 sets of 2 levels of parking and topped off by the Pearl and its central pool courtyard:

3100 Smith St., Midtown, Houston, 77006

And here are the final hours of 3100 Smith St. and the other elaborate paint jobs on the structure — in the shots below, Sebastien Boileau’s Pray for Paris wall is already gone, and the dancing lady and colorful splotches of Michael Savoie’s American Queen mural can be seen going . . .

3100 Smith St., Midtown, Houston, 77006

. . . going . . .

3100 Smith St., Midtown, Houston, 77006

. . . and gone.

3100 Smith St., Midtown, Houston, 77006

Images: ThaChadwick (photos); Houston Planning Commission (plan views)

Rosalie Redecoration

8 Comment

  • I’m not gonna lie, I can’t gin up any tears over the loss of this gorilla mural.

  • Ah, darn! I liked that colorful mural on the corner there.


  • First Harambe and now this…

  • My son, Nicky Davis, created this Mural for the Houston Zoo and I will be sad to see it go.

  • This will be good for the area–a walkable grocery store for central Midtown and East Montrose, and one less dead block to blight the pedestrian experience.

  • Not sure if this means anything, but all of the panels that had “Whole Foods” branding on the fence surrounding this plot have all been removed. All the generic pictures of apartment living and smiling white people are still there to advertise the apartment building, but for some reason any mention of Whole Foods is gone. Any thoughts? Has Whole Foods pulled out of the deal given their recent run of less-than-stellar earnings and how they’re actually closing stores nationwide?

  • Were there only smiling white people? Just want to clarify because I’ll be able to read into this further or stir up a little more self righteous indignation if so. Or was it maybe more like 60-75% smiling white people with like maybe a 40:60 ratio women to men, or vice versa, I guess. I mean I would be ok with this breakdown. I’ve like that you’ve brought the important racial make up of the people on the fence advertisements to our attention.