Purty Drawings of the New West End Walmart

Just ahead of tonight’s meeting, Ainbinder Company has released the requisite mostly-empty-parking-lot and pedestrians-standing-in-a-median renderings of the Walmart the company is hoping to seat off Koehler and Yale in the West End. The renderings come from a 5-page brochure for the company’s Washington Heights development that includes an aerial view and plenty of lovely images documenting the site’s industrial recent past, going so far as to call the former Trinity Industries plant on the site — where beams, columns, and other structures were fabricated from supplied raw materials — a “steel mill.” But no official (or updated) site plans for the current proposal are included.

Here’s a view of how the Walmart might look in the early dawn, as you drive up:


And a little closer:

Images: The Ainbinder Company

53 Comment

  • Its all HOGWASH!!! Wal-Fart is a wolf in sheeps clothing. I am willing to bet that Mayor Parker is getting a kickback to see that this thing gets built too.

  • aww.. look how pretty.. I’ll buy it!


  • Do people really jog in Wal-Mart parking lots?

  • From miss_msry:
    Do people really jog in Wal-Mart parking lots?

    Run away from purse-snatchers and carjackers, mainly.

  • It would look like this for about a month. Then the dirty diapers, empty grocery bags, and wayward shopping carts, and cigarette buts a go-go took over. Truth.

  • An exercise in turd-polishing

  • Bicycle rider? Jogger? Pedestrians out for a pleasant stroll? All in a Walmart parking lot? Laughable.

  • That first drawing cracks me up, a big crape myrtle front and center! So that’s why she’s running away…

    This looks like every other suburban development. Nothing new or creative that I can see.

  • I’m confused, I shop at the identical Target regularly and have yet to see the “dirty diapers, empty grocery bags, and wayward shopping carts, and cigarette butts” take over. I must not be paying attention.

  • Besides a few exterior color changes, the structure and layout is exactly the same as any other Wal-Mart. No thank you, Wal-Mart. Move on….

  • John, you beat me to it. It does look like that ‘jogger’ is running away with a purse.

  • I’m simply going off of every other WalMart out there.

  • It’s seem none of you have ever been to upscale Walmart. Where it’s clean everywhere and safety isn’t an issue. I’m not saying this one won’t go down the tubes, but there are plenty of Walmarts that are quite nice on the exterior and interior.

    Jake represents the commentary that makes people who generally oppose Walmart look crazy. It’s one thing to oppose on solid grounds, but he isn’t finding it.

  • Here’s an idea for you who might live near this. We have a lot of streams and small lakes throughout our neighborhood that, unfortunately, collect street runoff when it rains. Sadly, there’s a huge Walmart not too far upstream and their parking lot garbage and other debris (from their fine patrons who throw everything down instead of finding a trash can) sometimes ends up in our waterways. One woman I know got fed up complaining to the store manager so she started saving the Walmart trash floating in the lake behind her house and puts it in a box. When the box gets full, she has it delivered to the store manager. Filthy places.

  • Jimbo, you forgot to wear your condescending elitist viewing goggles that the most virulent walmart haters wear. It makes the diapers and cigarettes just appear. It even turns all the shoppers into a lower socio-economic class.

  • Jimbo–good point. This looks no different than the Heights Target. If anything, it looks better. Furthermore, criminals and low lifes don’t drive to Walmarts to hang out. They generally live in the neighborhood. If they hang out at this Walmart, it will be because of the local hood rats in the Heights, and should hardly be something for Heights residents to get mad about–if anything, they should be happy it would get them to the other side of I-10 instead of in front of the houses in the heights.

  • It’s a dumb deal.

  • @kt2le – Imagine the garbage generated by not 1, not 2, but 3 WM’s in close proximity! Silber/I-10, Crosstimbers/45, and (hopefully not) Yale & I-10.

  • And anyone who is calling me an elitist – I am a single mom that has 2 jobs and happens to live in the Heights. Hardly a McMansion snob.

  • Judging by the empty parking lots, maybe Wal-Mart needs to rework their numbers. This store looks like an economic failure based on these renderings.

  • I will vouch for you Sally, you’re as good as gold.

  • Thanks, Cor!

  • Sally, don’t have to be rich to be an elitist. It’s a state of mind.

  • @Jimbo – I took some photos, actually, of the trash in the Target parking lot last month. I went first thing in the morning after the store opened, around 8:15 a.m., after their team member had hosed down the sidewalk and drive immediately in front of the store. Trash. I did not get a photo of a dirty diaper, but I didn’t exactly stick around to document all of the waste on the ground. Much of it was food packaging from the various chef-driven restaurants in that development.

    And @htownproud, of course this looks better than the actual Target that now exists – it is a drawing of a store that has not been built commissioned by Walmart! Sheesh.

  • I have to say the barely concealed disdain for the urban poor and the shameless exhibition of frankly offensive stereotypes that has been endemic throughout this Walmart debate has really disappointed me. I’m not going to enlarge on that as I am pissed off enough about it to say something I might regret.

  • Nonsequiteuse,

    Walmart has nothing to do with these images. They are a product of a developer and a landscape architect. Walmart is just a tenant.

  • From kjb434:

    Walmart has nothing to do with these images. They are a product of a developer and a landscape architect. Walmart is just a tenant.
    Wal-Mart is not a tenant in this situation. They signed a contract with Ainbinder to purchase the land.

  • I for one am excited about our new Heights Wal-Mart. Cannot believe the hypocrites who talk negatively about this as they tear down single family homes to push out existing neighbors in place of four 3 story structures on the same site.

  • I agree with a few of the previous posters, it has the same Heights-ish look of the Target on Taylor.

  • kheatherg,

    True, Wal-mart still purchased the land. They don’t lease their stores and have been known to buy shopping centers to control what’s around them.

    Ainbinder is still the developer in contract with Walmart to develop everything around them. I’ve talked to some colleagues at another firm here in Houston that is contracted to do all of Walmart’s site develop engineering in the region.

  • @kjb434 – just to add to your point… Ainbinder as the land owner will be able to create a set of design guidelines for Wal-Mart to follow and develop their store in a certain way. They can essentially create a POA that will establish design criteria for the whole development.

  • Left-sided, non-meat-eating, animal-activist here, so don’t judge (lol), but the Heights belongs to a conglomerate mass, just like Wal-Mart, and the name of it is Hugeton, er, I mean Houston. The Heights, as well as many other districts, should have seceded and incorporated long ago if they wanted rights.

    And, if the Heights were incorporated, they would be courting Wal-Mart because they would need the tax base to fund services like police, road repair…everything your Houston provides.

    So, don’t get your services from big brother and then bitch when they court a business that is going to pay for part of your services. Instead, you might demand some new street paving, god knows the Heights needs some of that.

    Wal-Mart is no different from Target, just less glamorous, but they bank on the same sweatshops. At least Sam Walton put millions into literacy programs, nobody ever points that out!

  • You people are absolutely nuts. In America if you buy a property you have the right to build what you like. The Walmart they want to build is in an area outside of the Heights and mostly abandoned. You people need to grow up and get a life, its ridiculous that you are fighting a walmart. I mean I go to walmart like once maybe every two months and it would be nice to have one nearby.

  • Oh man that was pure shill. Beautiful!

  • (I’m referring to the post by the “left-sided” guy who self-identifies as an “animal activist.”)

  • The only Target I haven’t seen dirty diapers in the parking lot is the River Oaks Target on San Felipe.

  • Hi anon22,

    I’m not a shill, I don’t think anyone in Walmart or this city’s admin would waste their time.
    I’m a guy who took a course in city admin, what makes a city tick, who and what pays for that. Without income, a city cuts services and lays people off, they have to, this has happened in Detroit and a lot of major cities.

  • BB,

    The Heights, Cottage Grove and many other neighborhoods around Houston were their own cities. They formed agreements with the city of Houston and were annexed into the larger city. If you want to see the old Heights downtown, just go to 19th st. If you want to see remnants of the old Cottage Grove downtown, go to Larkin St. just west of TC Jester.

  • I believe that a lot of the things I love about Houston will change before I die. I also believe a lot of things that I hate about Houston will change before I die.

    Right now Houston is an incredibly young and incredibly wealthy city. Changes in cityscape are bound to be a part of every residents life. I’m still happy to live here.

  • @anon, I hope you have your tin-foil hat on because I heard that Walmart is also surreptitiously scanning your mind.

  • I will freely admit that I do have strong feelings about this development since it’s in my zip code. Since I’ll shop here only once a year my opinion is worth the paper it’s printed on. I’m most curious to see in which category this whole brouhaha gets nominated for this year’s Swamplot Awards.

  • I love all the “in America, you can build what you want” property rights folks in this thread. I wonder if they are out picketing for the right to build an Islamic Center somewhat in the vicinity of ground zero?

  • …and Jimbo with the straw man! It took longer than usual, so I guess you are a tribute to your dogma and zealotry. I just thought the hushed reverence for Sam Walton and non sequitur mention of his literacy programs was a bit odd. And the post had a surprisingly bitter tone considering it was about not having a Wal-Mart in the neighborhood — hardly the writing style of a “left-sided” self-professed “animal rights activist.” And of course the exaggerated comparison to Detroit was a nice touch. Sure, all they needed were a few more Wal-Marts.

  • Looks better than a regular wally world. But they still need to get rid of those giant parking lots. Parking Garage… Hello!!! Plus they can save money on having to use less land.

  • Please listen to Mayor Parker! The city must zone Heights residences but not Heights businesses. This makes sense because the mayors cronies can make money off the control of thousands of homes but Wal-mart is a onetime payment to a single crony. Jeez, fake joggers are charming but appointing HAHC members that control buying, selling and repair of all Heights homes is real money. We all know the mayor will need a job after her one term, “comptroller of porch lights and paint colors” all available at the Heights Wal-mart!

  • This statement cracks me up…

    “You people are absolutely nuts. In America if you buy a property you have the right to build what you like.”

    Yes. It’s true in Houston. In every other urban area however, your neighbors and elected officials with have an OUTRAGEOUS amount of input as to what you allowed to build on your own property.

    That’s one of the reasons Houston kicks so much ass. I love it.

  • People involved in the Walmart Heights debate, as well as the proposed glass skyscraper near the Empire state in NY, and the mosque issue need to understand the word “ordinance”, which is just as important as “zoning”.

    An ordinance is a sort of law, rules which are applied at local levels, covering issues that federal or state law doesn’t cover.

    For example, a city council could pass an ordinance that all awnings of their commercial district must be made of metal, not canvas, because of a problem with business owners refusing to replace torn up, ugly canvas awnings. An ordinance is designed as a rule to work across the board and to benefit the general public.

    There is no ordinance prohibiting the building of Walmart in Houston, or the Heights, or mosques in NY, and it would be a discriminating ordinance if it were passed. There are ordinances concerning lot size, height, shape, etc. of said structures, but you can’t discriminate against a business if they are following the ordinances.

    Mayor Parker knows that Houston can be sued if they do not apply fairness with Walmart. It’s not about kickbacks, it’s about playing fair.

    Rights, priveleges, laws, ordinances… all must be understood in order to make a legitimate and fair case. The group opposing Walmart doesn’t seem to understand. Instead of appearing to be a mob, they need to hire representation to make a solid, sensible case.

    This is how America works, thank whichever god you praise, because that is a “right”.

  • joseph,

    If a parking garage would save them money, trust, they would have gone that route.

    Walmart penny pinches everywhere they can. The price of this property is still low enough that it doesn’t require urban style development to justify land costs.

  • Wow anon, I’ve never thought of myself as a dogmatic zealot before. Thanks! The idea that Walmart has either the time or the will to seed blogs with undercover supporters is really amusing. Throughout this whole distasteful display of nimbyism that has been a source of light relief. Remember though that Walmart probably doesn’t give two hoots about the small but shrieking minority that are protesting the development. They already know that most of us will rarely or never shop there. They are far more focused on the much larger group of residents who will shop there.

  • I live a half mile away in the same zip code…and I’m excited the development will bring some new, convenient options on the way home from work.

    The new development will likely screw up my commute. I’ll have to drive another way…adding another 5-10 minutes of drive time…more if I get caught by the dreaded trains on Shepherd or Heights…but c’est la vie.

  • Thanks for the reasoned reply, Jimbo. A little civility goes a long way in these discussions. Wal-Mart has a bad reputation for a good reason, and the important thing to remember is that while Wal-Mart may not give two hoots about its non-supporters, most people don’t give two hoots about Wal-Mart either way. That includes not-built as well as built. It’s funny and a little sad that its supporters think they are being negatively affected by people *not* completely kowtowing to a company that would probably legalize murder if they thought they could make a nickel selling the bullets.

  • From kjb434: Sally, don’t have to be rich to be an elitist. It’s a state of mind.

    Leave it to kjb to MAKE SURE he hammers home his personal insult(s). Blasted buck-shot into any stray dogs lately?

  • marketingwiz,

    Out of 52 posts, that is the one you focused on to make a comment? Yes, a sidebar about the term elitist is so critical to the ongoing discussion.