New Modern Shopping Center Wants To Cozy Up to the Corner of West Alabama and Mandell

Proposed Alabama Row Shopping Center, 1518 W. Alabama St., Montrose, Houston

Is the park-in-back strip center now a certifiable thing in Houston? Here’s the latest rendering of the small shopping center designed by Ziegler Cooper Architects for the corner of W. Alabama St. and Mandell St. in Montrose, across the street from the Menil Collection parking lot. Like the smaller center at the corner of Westheimer and Dunlavy now home to the Common Bond bakery and the slightly larger one developed by Braun Enterprises at 20th St. and Rutland in the Heights, Alabama Row scoots up just about as close to the main drag as the city’s development rules will let it. And it looks like the building’s south face, fronting West Alabama, is meant to be seen as its front:


Proposed Alabama Row Shopping Center, 1518 W. Alabama St., Montrose, Houston

A sign advertising the new development went up on the site earlier this month:

Site of Proposed Alabama Row Shopping Center, 1518 W. Alabama St., Montrose, Houston

Site of Proposed Alabama Row Shopping Center, 1518 W. Alabama St., Montrose, Houston

Proposed Alabama Row Shopping Center, 1518 W. Alabama St., Montrose, Houston

Edge Realty Partners, which leased the 1706 Westheimer spot to Common Bond and Space, is marketing this venture as well. An earlier design for the location — also called Alabama Row — included a much larger building on the 26,123-sq.-ft. site, with parking above on 2 upper levels.

Renderings: Edge Realty Partners. Photo: Swamplot inbox

Alabama Row

31 Comment

  • I saw a large sign in the yard this morning advertising “New Shopping Center Coming Soon! EDGE-RE.COM” and meant to follow up but hadn’t gotten around to it yet. Thanks to whoever did the legwork to satisfy my curiosity.

  • Forgot the obligatory mention of the old Public News, which was published out of the bungalow that used to be on the corner.

  • Mattress Firm signs on as first tenant in 3, 2, 1…

  • Good. More nail salons and mattress stores.

  • A great location for a Mattress Firm.

  • Montose needs it’s own Bork!

  • Am I too late for another mattress firm joke?

    I am?


  • It seems like a random location for a strip center. Even though there are businesses mixed in with residential on W. Alabama east of Shepherd, most of them are in converted single-family homes or tiny one-story strip centers (like the Chocolate Bar). It will look very much out of place. It might work if they choose the tenants carefully to benefit the neighborhood. So no Mattress Firms or cell phone stores!

  • Rendering is unrealistic.

    A Cadillac without Vogues? In Houston?

  • That rendering shows Alabama with no potholes and looks positively driveable! I wish!

  • What it the windowless blue thing rising up out of the back?

  • With the Menil across the street, this screams out for a classier, Common Bond-esque venue. Knowing my neighborhood though, I should expect another Raising Cane’s.

  • OMG, parking IN! THE! BACK!!!

  • @ GL: I practically howled with laughter at your comment that the artist’s rendering of West Alabama looks pothole-free and driveable. I tip my hat to you, sir!

    Back to the main topic of this strip center, why do we need MORE retail space in this area? Plenty of shopping space on Kirby, Shepherd, Richmond, and Montrose for those wallet-lightening moments.

  • Alright only 4 blocks from our new house… If Janet lets us build it, that is. I think the Schlumbergers control most of that area so there is at least some hope for an outbreak of something cool.
    Let’s see… what do we really need there… A performance space for a new Montrose-resident gamelan orchestra. Yes, that’s it. Build it and they will come!

  • The one instance in which I would have preferred a gaggle of fugly townhomes.

  • What is the windowless blue thing rising up out of the back?


  • Definitely looks like another Starbucks location to me…

  • i fully support spreading more commercial frontage to other main thoroughfares that aren’t as highly travelled. although the current road is a huge safety liability that’s worse than infrastructure in many third world countries (take it further, Houston!), the ivory tower completed just a block over is a huge high-income customer base that will need to be supplied with supporting businesses. these folks were just able to capitalize on it first. considering i’ve been to the raising canes a thousand times by now and not once to common bond it’s certainly not going to have anything of interest to myself though.

  • and spoonman, i believe that’s some designer trying to be clever by taking “accent walls” out of the standard home design cliche and applying it to a strip center with an “accent block” since it’s not even on the north elevation. i guess it’s one way to get peoples attention without using big ugly signs.

  • Cool! By the way, resurfacing West Alabama is in the city’s plan for 2016 or 2017 (I forget) so it’s not a complete fantasy.

  • I’m really against parking minimums, but i really dislike putting a row of parking between the building and the street. Sometimes it’s more important where the parking goes than how much parking you have. Good for them for pushing it to the rear and side.

  • Houston is finally getting a Cafe Retail? I’m so excited.

  • Sure would have been something to get a strip center with structured parking above. But I suppose lets take it one step at a time. Parking in back is fairly revolutionary thinking for our fair city.

  • Not only does Alabama look nothing like the street depicted, that corner has traffic lights, and is an ungodly mess of lanes. Yeah, looks just like the sketch ;)

  • Looks cool, but it’s still crazy to me how much of the land footprint is dedicated to parking. I think years from now we’ll laugh at how much land we gave to park individual cars.

  • years for now it will be a parking garage for the menil complex………………….

  • @Cody, you should wander a couple miles west and check out the veritable ocean of parking around the CVS footprint at W. Alabama and S. Shepherd. Looks like about 13K sf for the store and 60K sf for parking.

    The total square footage of land owned by Shepherd Alabama LLC at that corner is 72,097. I discovered that CVS Caremark has a realty division with a website on which they list their criteria for selecting a new location:

  • Im guessing they will pull out the very old non functioning, I assume, Alabama Trolley light that still existed here. It looked to be many decades old. Sad… It always made me wonder what the trolley looked like when I saw it.

  • this is houston. we have cars and will have to park our cars … some of us will walk, if we live close by.. but lets be fucking real….and to the people who go on and fucking on about walkablity ….go walk yourself…………

  • @Jeff D.,

    Huh. Is that what this thing is?