Only a Little Off Target: Walmart Heading Right Between Washington Ave and the Heights

We have a correction on the location of the new Walmart headed for the area just south of I-10 and the Heights. Our source was off by a block: The property in question is bounded by Yale on the east, Koehler on the north, Bonner on the west, and the railroad tracks to the south. That’s a much bigger site than the former Sons of Hermann property a block east. A proposed development plan obtained by Nancy Sarnoff at the Chronicle indicates there’ll be plenty of pad-site fun in the project too. The site plan from the Ainbinder Company and Moody Rambin Retail shown above also shows a much-fattened Bass Ct. connecting the development to a new east-bound feeder road along I-10.

The plans show a 152,000-sq.-ft. Walmart (that’s almost 3 1/2 acres of floor space, but who’s counting?) and a 664-car parking lot. according to Sarnoff. “A Wal-Mart spokeswoman confirmed the company’s interest in the site, but would not provide additional details,” she writes.

A 25-acre Trinity Industries steel fabrication plant was the last development at this location. A portion at 107 Yale was home to the Heights Armature Works, where flickr photographer meltedplastic caught these cozy scenes, featured on Swamplot last year:


Photos of Heights Armature Works: flickr user meltedplastic

37 Comment

  • Can’t we all just agree to a loose ideal of making inside the loop a tight urban core and making outside the loop a wonderful sprawl of big boxes?

  • A little lack of resolution in the image, but it appears there is a road bisecting those apartments connecting Kohler St and 2nd st between Yale and Heights.. Not that I’d be sad to see those apartments go.. But they would be loosing potential customers right there!

  • As commercial development and road widening continue apace, I would like to announce the formation of the Yale Ferry and Duck-Boat Company. This should be very profitable, especially during the rainy season. Mosquito repellant not included.

  • Whoever pasted the site plan on the map seems to have misaligned the streets. You can get a better idea of what’s going on by going to which has better resolution.

  • I agree with Evan. Keep Walmart out of that area. I usually am against telling land owners what they shouldn’ do, but this is Walmart…the exception. Keep them far way.

  • Interesting. Supercenters are usually closer to 200,000 square feet; this one might be a scaled down version or not have a grocery section.

    One way or the other, I say bring it on. I need a job.

  • Ask them to put in a few extra parking spaces to alleviate the parking issues on Washington, and they are fine by me. I have heard they have started to work with local farmers to source their produce at some stores…

  • It MUST include a grocery. This area is terribly under served. I would prefer a mixed use high density development, but would settle for an HEB.

  • Please, please everybody support local businesses in the area (C&D, Buchanan’s, etc.), even if it costs a few dollars more. We need these small businesses to keep producing jobs offering a decent wage. Walmart puts these little guys out of business, hires their workers, then pays slave wages/cuts hours and has the workers apply for government assistance. That’s right, those everyday low prices are supplemented by your tax dollars while the rich get richer.

  • Since so many local groups were opposed to the new feeder, but TxDOT insisted on ramming it through supposedly because of the threat of a 100 yr flood making I-10 impassable; maybe the truth is that TxDOT is building the feeder for Walmart.

  • According to the Chronicle: “Another grocer had been eyeing the tract.

    H-E-B said it recently made an offer on the Ainbinder parcel but was later informed that a counteroffer from Wal-Mart Stores was accepted, spokeswoman Cyndy Garza-Roberts said.”

    HEB would have been awesome. WalMart sucks.

  • “Keep them out”? So you just want to arbitrarily impose rules on one business because you don’t like them?

  • Did Lowes on the north loop put C&D out of business? Did Home Depot? Is another crappy big box garden center going to supplant Buchanan’s? No, no, and no. This isn’t Mayberry. The Heights has already welcomed the big boxes to their boundaries. Get yourself a new script. Like it or not, these days an $8.50 job at WalMart is a good job. Besides, if your budding gang-banger inner loop teenagers had a WalMart job, maybe they wouldn’t hang around bored in the ‘hood, stealing your shit for fun.

  • This makes my intestines hurt. Keep Houston Ugly.

  • Too bad we can’t ask Wal-mart to build a mixed-use structure, facing the street, with housing on top of their retail establishment. At least that way they could contribute to urban livability and maybe get some good PR in the area by breaking that big box image and doing something forward-thinking. Maybe that way they also wouldn’t have to use three quarters of that lot for parking. Target already missed that opportunity, so it would be a nice surprise if Wal-mart was able to seize it.

  • There’s two posts going on about this…I said elsewhere Walmart can open, it is a free market, I just won’t shop there. I want to support the local guys. Shoppers like me are why stores like C&D still exist.

    I may be wrong, but I think Lowes and Depot don’t have their employees incomes supplemented by welfare as part of their business models. That’s where I have a big issue with Walmart.

    And the gang bangers can’t get retail jobs because no major retailer will hire felons due to liability issues. Their only chance to go legit would probably be a mom and pop shop willing to take a chance on them.

  • Yeah, saw this one coming. When I looked at the map someone made yesterday (here @ Swampthing) that showed a regular Wal-Mart vs Super Center and the tract of land they were “targeting” I was able to use my keen senses to see the much larger vacant tract would be the one Wal-Mart would go after.

    If all of you are concerned about Wal-Mart watering down the neighborhoods fantastic architectural heritage – write Wal-Mart and suggest they attempt something better than normal. It can’t hurt?

  • There is most certainly adequate market share for these mom and pop shops to survive in a city the size of Houston. Large companies are most certainly going to take advantage of tax breaks when possible. I have shopped at C&D for over 25 years and I’ve shopped at Buchanan’s as well. Just because a Walmart goes in where a grocery store is desperately needed, does not mean local mom and pop stores are gonna die. Get real.

    The pining for the mixed use structure kills me. Keep drinking the kool-aide, someone will come get you later.

  • Unfortunately, my parents live in a small Texas town that had pretty much all of their small businesses closed down by Walmart. The residents didn’t realize they were killing their economy by going after those low prices until it was too late. Now Walmart is all that’s left, though it is starting to change. Once they were the only game in town, the Walmart got really bad. People started driving to other larger towns to shop elsewhere.

    It’s left a bad taste in my mouth. Yes, the Height’s local businesses probably won’t be hurt by Walmart, I’m letting my judgment be clouded. But I’m just going to make sure and do my part by not shopping at Walmart.

  • To ‘T’ – Want to invest in my Yale Ferry and Duck Boat Company?

  • Darby, you could be the new Washington Wave! :)

  • I really don’t care whether they build a Wal-Mart or not, as, let’s just say any Wal-Mart effect on the region has likely already happened…

    I am, however, dismayed, to see all that land, in typical fashion flattened and paved for parking. Yup, no parking garages still.

  • Watering down the architectural heritage? Flattening and paving? This brownfield site was and is flat; the portions that aren’t unkempt and overgrown are already paved.

    Besides, the people-watching opportunities at this Wal-Mart should be pretty interesting after the club scene shuts down on any given Saturday night. That’s reason enough to bring it on!

  • Please sign the petition to keep Wal-Mart away from the inner loop:

    There is a facebook page as well:

  • Niche… you’ve got it backwards. I can’t wait to see the people of Walmart starting to hit up the Washington hot spots!

  • This brownfield site was and is flat; the portions that aren’t unkempt and overgrown are already paved.

    And what, pray tell, is bubbling beneath the surface?

  • This is America now – a company that provided skilled workers a decent living wage, and produced goods that reduced the needs for imports, and with a prime location on a major railway line – is replaced with a low wage, Made in China, small town killing, provider of crap. Happy July 4th!

  • Wal-Mart does hire ex-cons- I used to work there many moons ago. I’ll never forget the day I walked into the breakroom and overheard the tire-lube manager trying to decide between hiring an ex-con and a “retard” (his words) from the local Goodwill job bank. Things may be more desperate now for the average unemployed person who needs a WallyWorld job, but they’ve never had much but bottom of the barrel choices for the hiring. Smart people tend to not put up with the bs there for too long.

  • Look for Heights Plaza apartments to go away.
    Most tenants there are blue collar and the property has the lowest rents in the Heights.
    The master plan for Walmart and the advantageous developers will make a HP a casualty and a memory.

  • I’ve hired ex-cons. Best employees ever…and giving them work deprives them of leisure time and makes them less economically desperate. If Wal-Mart hires ex-cons, then kudos to them.

  • Matt, that’s an interesting angle. With all this rain, surely pollutants are leeching out from the soils of this brownfield site and flowing into White Oak Bayou. If there were a Wal-Mart here, the surface would be impermeable with only trace amounts of leaked motor oil contaminating the bayou. And as a kayaker that enjoys high water, that means less cancer for me!

  • There is no historical value left in Rice Military! Rice is a developer’s wet-dream and a the residents’ nightmare. The proximity to large tracts dedicated to parks along the bayous already serve that purpose. WalMart will cannibalize itself with the new location at Corsstimbers and not renew the lease. HEB is a much better alternative. But whoever said developers had foresight?

  • KT couldn’t agree more. Snover used to a nice street, now every single (single family home) is giving way to towering ugly 3-4 story stucco ugliness. And after 1-2 years, up goes the “For Sale” sign, which doesn’t bode well for our ‘hood. Those new giant monstrosities on Feagan aren’t any better, is an elevator in your house a real selling point? Conspicuous consumption and greed runs rampant, and no one seems to realize just how inherently tacky it is (or maybe they do, and thus the for sale signs — which are more prevalent than new monster condos). I’ve seen this deteriorate over the last 10 years, and while I’m not thrilled to be the next wave of gentrification of Alden Place/Avondale west, it’s at least protected from those shoddy condo constructions (for the most part aside from the 4th ward), but kind of sentimental about my old tree lined streets, small homes where people waved when you walked/drove past. Those days are quickly coming to an end in Rice Military.

  • Somebody needs to train and teach these visionless developers about proper urban design values. Come on guys, you are not only replacing large tracts of grassy field with concrete that takes away the natural absorption of rain water. At least make it beautiful and appealing to the pedestrians.

  • Mayor Parker’s Parking lot drainage fees/tax will make up for all the tax breaks that WalMart gets. Right? Right?