Studemont Grocers Supply Redevelopment To Feature Fast Food and Bank Drive-Thrus, Store Pods in Parking Lot Now, Apartments Later

Proposed Studemont Junction Development, Studemont St. at Hicks St., First Ward, Houston

Signs are up at the soon-to-be-former Grocers Supply distribution center across Studemont from Kroger just south of I-10 announcing Studemont Junction, the name meant to bring some . . . uh, conjunction to the odd-shaped 15-acre food-storage facility Capcor Partners bought late last year. To judge from the proposed site plan for the project, that’ll be quite a task.

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Proposed Studemont Junction Development, Studemont St. at Hicks St., First Ward, Houston

Proposed Studemont Junction Development, Studemont St. at Hicks St., First Ward, Houston

Developers plan to rope in (beginning at the northern end of the property) some sort of fast-food drive-thru, a bank (with its own drive-thru in back), and enough retail operations to fill a couple of “pad site” retail boxes and a more conventional broken-L shopping center on the site, each structure surrounded by its own dedicated rows of parking. Later, Capcor’s partner Kaplan Management plans to build a 400-unit apartment complex on the western end of the site.

According to the marketing copy on the leasing broker’s website, this multifamily structure, bounded by a small railyard on its south, will “reinforce the urban character of the site and will encourage heavy pedestrian activity along the corridor.” Residents will be able to get to the new complex’s front door from Studemont St. either by wending their way through the retail parking lot or by driving along a proposed new extension of Summer St. past Olivewood Cemetery to a circular drive at Wichman St.

Proposed Studemont Junction Development, Studemont St. at Hicks St., First Ward, Houston

Here are a few images showing close-up views of the proposed retail buildings, minus their surrounding parking lots:

Proposed Studemont Junction Development, Studemont St. at Hicks St., First Ward, Houston

Proposed Studemont Junction Development, Studemont St. at Hicks St., First Ward, Houston

Proposed Studemont Junction Development, Studemont St. at Hicks St., First Ward, Houston

Photos: Debnil Chowdhury. Plans and renderings: UCR

Many Functions for Studemont Junction

49 Comment

  • I remember when Studemont was just a way to avoid the Houston avenue train. That whole area (including Yale and Heights) is now littered with fast food burger, sandwiches and taco places. What that area could really benefit from is an HEB or Central Market. :-)

  • I don’t get people’s desire to live in a Mixed Use development, I lived in one for a couple of years and it’s as useless as a sh*t flavored lollipop. You get tired of the couple of restaurants there within 2 weeks, the drycleaner is not as good as the one you’re used to and you end up driving there anyway, you get all the noise and the traffic to deal with without any real world benefit. Its the true case of the “grass is greener on the other side”.

  • Urban character? Looks like more space is dedicated to parking than store. Who would want to walk around that?

  • Katyville is coming together…and that’s not a knock; it’s a good example of how an area that was formerly industrial/manufacturing can transition quickly in response to demographic changes surrounding it. Zoning couldn’t have placed a retail corridor more perfectly between Rice Military and the Heights.

  • Come on ride our little Prius to the Starbucks off I-10 at the Junction – Studemont Juncton!

  • As if the traffic through there isn’t bad enough as it is…

  • Is it just me, or does that “Junction Market” look somewhat similar to the design of some Central Markets, particularly the old one on Lamar in Austin? Good Lord that would be amazing.

  • Okay let’s play the suburbia-came-to-town guessing game…

    Panda Express, CVS, Marshall’s, Starbucks and another Chuy’s.

  • I’m actually with @commonsense on this one. While I like the idea of a mixed use building, they’re some of the biggest pains to navigate: pray that someone doesn’t hit you with a car or that you don’t hit someone with a car. City Center is one of the worst IMO.
    .
    @mel – I would actually give my left boob for an HEB near the Heights, though – one that doesn’t have slime/sludge growing on the produce shelving and a working air conditioner, please (I’m looking at you W18th). Katyville already has a newish Kroger and a Walmart that seems like a Nordstrom’s compared to the one off of 45 and Crosstimbers. (I wish the Kroger on 20th would just pave way for HEB.)

  • A Junction Market, Goods & Co., “JR Depot”(?), and a Fields, but no BORK? This development is destined to fail.

  • @mel – HEB/Central Mkt gets my vote! Anyone know if HEB has plans for the Heights there or elsewhere?

  • cesema’s right, what urban area are these guys thinking of? It will encourage pedestrian activity? Do these guys go for a merry jaunt in their office parking lot in July or something? Yeesh. That doesn’t bode well for what will become of the Tarkett site once it comes up on the market. That’s the last big spot industrial spot in the area that could get redeveloped, I believe.

    I hope this isn’t the inspiration the Hardy Yards developer ends up using for that giant lot. I haven’t seen an update on that development in several years.

  • Superdave: I propose an upscale fro-yo shop and a Jenni’s Noodle outpost instead of Panda Express, but maybe a Cafe Express. . .

  • Bank, mattress store, super cuts, place with fancy burgers

  • Semper Fudge for comment of the year.

  • Yes, this would be a very CENTRAL location to put some kind of MARKET or grocery store that isn’t a Kroger.

  • Tarkett is the only thing between Studemont Katyville and Sawyer/Taylor Katyville. Could that property get I-10 feeder road access? I think so.

  • Is parking one of the uses of a mixed use development? Apparently so. It’ll be the predominant use here.

    And, could the building sites not have been moved a little closer to Studemont to at least create a feeling of being in a city? This is just more suburban development, much like that between Heights and Yale just south of I-10, near Koehler Street / 2nd Street. I don’t understand the fear of placing parking in the rear of these buildings. These real estate companies worry more about the next quarterly earning, and take almost no account for the design of Houston. You can have superbly designed sites without compensating earnings.

  • I am putting my money where my mouth is and have written to Central Market:

    http://www.centralmarket.com/contact.aspx
    customercare@heb.com
    1-855-HEB-GIFT

  • @mel, I seem to recall that an HEB/Central Market is planned for the site at the Roundabout at Westcott & Washington.

  • I can’t believe I’m agreeing with commonsense but he’s so right about mixed use projects, or at least the type being built in Houston. Who wants to deal with all of that non-residential traffic right in their front yard? Who wants to be surrounded by acres of concrete parking lots? Worse still are apartments built on top of retail. I had some friends that lived in West Ave over Tootsie’s, and they were fed up within 6 months and moved down the street. If this is what developers call a “walkable community,” it’s a big fail.

  • As if traffic isn’t damn near impassable along that corridor already. By all means, let’s increase the population density and attract even more cars to area without investing in any of the infrastructure improvements necessary to sustain it.

  • I’d be interested in knowing the average and median incomes within a 2 mile radius of this. Rice Military homes are $350k and up, and the east end of the Heights is running about $400k and up. I say this because this site should be a retail gold mine, on significant acreage, and all they can think of to do with it is build some fast food places, a bank, and maybe another nail salon??? On suburban-style pad sites no less?

  • I guess it is better that what is there now…….???? Central Market would be great but Sprouts is about to open up over on Yale. That seems like a lot of grocery stores in a small area considering that Whole Foods is just down the way also.

  • lame. won’t go.

  • Yeah, no, you’re not getting a Central Market, it’s too close to the one in River Oaks. Just to be sure I called my friend who is an executive at HEB in SA and she said, err, no. Honestly, this is such an improvement to what is currently there, that it’s really not worth bitching about all that it isn’t. Common has a point about living in these developments, I for one would pass—good location tho and in an area that has made a rapid transformation.

  • Are they finally going to connect Summer St. all the way through to Sawyer?

  • @JB3 That is still the plan. It is still in the works with the city.

  • So, NO Central Market because the River Oaks one is close enough? Yeah, like it’s getting easier to leave the Heights headed south with all the congested development on Yale, Heights and Studewood……..we’re drowning in Krogers and just have that crappy HEB Pantry as an alternative. You are really missing a major opportunity HEB! How many people need to complain, cajole or write letters before you change your mind? What about just a bit north, take advantage of shoppers in GO/OF, Shepherd Forest, etc., plenty of places WITH parking….say, N. Shepherd and just outside the loop? OK, I’m done ranting now…….

  • It would appear to my weary eyes that this is NOT a mixed-use development and I do not understand how that has become the subject of conversation. There are precisely two uses, being retail and apartments; they are separate and discrete, not overlapping spatially or financially, and clearly they are intended to be developed separately and sold separately. The retail layout appears to turn its back wholly and completely on the apartments. There does not appear to be any specific design consideration for pedestrian infrastructure that would accommodate “heavy pedestrian activity” or for any qualities that might be considered “urban” other than the fact of its location.

  • Dont worry they’ll build Studemont Juntction like the rest of Katyville…suburbirific

  • It is kind of sad that there is not more imagination on how to use these “clean slates”. Duplicating what you would do in the suburbs seems shortsighted, and a missed opportunity. The plus: you won’t have the suburbanites to compete with on the weekends.

  • Too bad the planners completely turn their back on the Olivewood Cemetery to the west, and what could be beautiful landscape and views. There is actually topography leading down to Whit Oak Bayou! They will no doubt fill it all in with a retaining wall parking and service drive to supply the rear of the buildings. Really abysmal site plan with the usual Houston retail building surrounded by the sea of parking. FAIL.

  • Hold the phone, 400 units on that little strip of land between Larkin and Court St.??? The Sovereign is 21 stories and has 290 units. Just eyeballing it on google, the Sovereign looks to have a much bigger foot print than the space allotted for the 400 unit project from Kaplan.

    As for the rest of the property, it is a very awkward parcel of land. Very limited street access. No direct connection to the feeder. Trader Joes might bite, but no other big box grocer would bother with it. But there are a lot of huge parcels in the 1st ward that will be redeveloped that are bigger and better than this one. If a parcel needs to take one for the team and get stripmalled up for some needed retail, this is probably the one to sacrifice.

  • So, I’m seeing two kinds of complaints about this development. First, it’s too much parking. Second, there’s already too much traffic in this area.

    With respect to the parking, across the whole development, there’s 6 spaces per 1000 s.f. That’s about the minimum the city will allow for this kind of development. In the “broken-L” half of the site, it’s actually less than 5 per 1000 s.f. Since it’s surrounded by industrial on three sides and a cemetery on the other, there’s no place for overflow parking to go, so the site really needs to be self-contained from a parking standpoint.

    Additionally, there is no way for anyone to get to this site other than by car. Hopefully some day all of those warehouses will be cleared out and make way for a walkable new-urbanist paradise, but the developer has to design for the situation that exists today, not the one that may exist in some distant future.

    So, one might respond, they should build denser, and replace surface parking with multi-story parking structures. Then you run into the second type of complaint: traffic. Try as we might, there’s no way around the fact that as square footage increases, so must parking (whether or not it’s mixed use). If 95,000 s.f. of low-density retail with 500 parking spaces will complicate an already bad traffic situation on Studemont, what effect would 300,000 s.f. of high-density retail/commercial with 1500+ parking spaces have?

  • @Maureen Yes, a Central Market in GOOF. Please. Pretty, pretty please. With whipped cream and sprinkles on top even. I like the Kroger there fine, but that’s probably because growing up that spot simply was where groceries come from (OK sometimes they came from the old Sak N Save on Ella too). I’d love to have a convenient Central Market but I can’t think of anywhere they could build one in the area.

  • A comparison of this site to the Highland Village Central Market:
    The broken-L half of this development is 66,350 s.f. in two clusters on 4.9 acres. Central Market on Westheimer is almost exactly the same size: 66,329 (per HCAD), but on 8.2 acres.
    So Central Market, in a higher land-value neighborhood, is lower density, with more surface parking, than this site. The additional amount of surface parking at CM compared to this site is roughly equivalent in size to a Walmart Supercenter (140k s.f.). Even so, it’s often difficult to find a place to park there.

  • To everyone complaining about the traffic:

    Stop driving so much. YOU are traffic. If it wasn’t for people like you, there would be no traffic and I could get everywhere fast.

  • Memebag is better than us because he/she doesn’t have a car.

  • @ Niche: Yes, I’d call the marketing lingo put forth by the developer as “urbanism-washing”. This is a multi-use, not an integrated mixed-use development (which you can do without vertically stacking uses, but regardless isn’t being done here.)

    I don’t know what has been paid for these parcels between Washington and the Katy Freeway, but I’m pretty surprised that one-story retail with surface parking is financially feasible these days, land costs being what they are. I guess they’re going to extract some super-high lease rates and expect huge sales productivity to drive percentage rents?

  • Sgt. Stedenko:

    What makes you think I don’t have a car? I have a car. It’s everyone ELSE with a car that complains about traffic that’s a hypocrite. I’m the sole exception.

  • I figured HEB management was one-and-done on Central Market for Houston because we’ve stayed with just the RO location (and there are only nine in the state). HEB has instead done “Market Place” type stores…which are pretty close, but not quite the same.

  • If Houston does get a new Central Market it will serve Memorial–built around the Town and County Village–maybe on whatever they intend to do with the old Exxon property on the Katy Freeway…but I’m sure Houston will in time get a second Central Market—even SA only has the one in Alamo Heights.

  • Just what Houston needs more apartments. How long did it take for this marketing company to come up with apartments and fast food joints? BORING

  • I think what people are complaining about is not the amount of parking, per se, but the sheer acreage of concrete across which the alleged pedestrians will allegedly walk and upon which the apartment dwellers will gaze lovingly.

    How about a multi-story garage and some trees and grass and other green stuff?

  • Not to stray from the original topic…but I agree with Shannon, if Houston gets a second Central Market the most-obvious choice would be out west. Get the the Memorial shoppers + the Katy ones, likely on their way home from their jobs in the Energy Corridor. And the old Exxon site would be the perfect choice. Lots of middle-upper end housing already nearby, more coming, and no high-end grocery stores anywhere in the area.

    Currently living in a mixed-use development. It is nice to quickly walk downstairs to grab groceries when it’s pouring down rain, but otherwise it’s full of inconveniences – crowds, traffic, expensive and inconvenient parking for guests, etc. And I got tired of the onsite restaurants after 2 days, not 2 weeks.

  • The Tarkett facility and the former insecticide company building beside it is posted with tape and signs, ASBESTOS.
    What would be the cost to clean up and clear that area for health and safety….? Seems those properties could be subject to no development by the EPA for many years….I worked at the Tarkett facility for 14 years before being laid off there 10 years ago. I worked for another company Southline Metal Products off of 12th Street and 610 loop and it was shutdown and torn down. The property across the street from it was deemed unusable for 99 years and that was in the early 1980′s and its still and an undeveloped lot. I understand a former paint and chemical company once stood in that location….Just saying..

  • @ Bobcat: Asbestos is fairly easy to clean up, only expensive. As a buyer, it’s not difficult to discount the price of the land for that sort of thing.

    Soil and groundwater contamination is a different matter. I’m by no means an expert on environmental remediation, however I have had some experience with them. The regulations in the 1980′s were more or less the same as they are now, however the standard for what constitutes a contaminated site has become much more strict because new technology allows us to measure even trace amounts of chemicals precisely into the parts per billion. My understanding is that as far as the EPA and TCEQ are concerned, if you can measure it, its a problem. The extent of the problem is hugely dependent on the type and circumstances of the contamination; ninety-nine years sounds like a very arbitrary number that could go up or down, or like some sort of a legal settlement that produced a covenant that has no basis in science.