BELLAIRE FOOD STREET SCRAPS FOOD HALL PLANS, WILL GO FULL STRIP-STYLE INSTEAD
The 10,000-sq.-ft. food hall that had been planned as part of the 24,000-sq.-ft. pan-Asian restaurant building just in side Beltway 8 dubbed Bellaire Food Street will not come to be, reports Eater’s Alaena Hoestetter. Instead, that space will be used to give a 3 more not-yet-named restaurant their own individual storefronts. So far 10 restaurants — Shi Miao Dao, Fat Ni BBQ, Peppery Lunch, Beard Papa’s, Popfancy, Migo, Meet Fresh, Waistation, Chatime, and a South Korean coffee chain called Tom N Toms that serves a “baked sweet potato latte” — have been announced as tenants. Upstairs is reserved for developer Kevin Kan’s office. [Eater Houston; previously on Swamplot] Photo: Bellaire Food Street
PLAZAMERICAS MALL HAS A NEW OWNER, FOR THE MOST PART
Nancy Sarnoff reports in the Chronicle that the former Sharpstown Center, more recently known as PlazAmericas has been sold to Houston commercial real estate firm Baker Katz. Well, most of it has: The purchase, she writes “does not include any of the attached anchor stores or the 10-story building that rises from the property.” The owner of the highrise, along with those of the former Montgomery Ward, JC Penny, and Macy’s buildings are all tied up in long-term agreements that’ll make it tough for Baker Katz to do much right now with the mall as a whole. On its agenda for now: increasing occupancy at the 840,000-sq.-ft. property, which now about 70-percent full, according to Sarnoff. [Houston Chronicle] Photo of mall entrance facing Clarewood Dr.: Lou C.
Note: This story has been updated to include Beard Papa’s in the list of tenants planned for Bellaire Food Street.
The steel is up for Bellaire Food Street‘s 3-level garage, as shown in the twilit photo at top looking west down Bellaire Blvd. So far popsicle shop Popfancy, Japanese cream puff dealer Beard Papa’s, Japanese gather-’round-the-grill restaurant Pepper Lunch, Vietnamese restaurant Migo, Taiwanese shaved ice shop Meet Fresh, and — just today — Beijing-style skewered meat spot Fat Ni BBQ have punched their tickets for entry into ground floor of the 24,000-sq.-ft. strip next door, reports Eater, adding that more are on the way. The developer Kevin Kan has laid claim to the building’s second story office outpost.
Work on the 2-acre site between Beltway 8 and Gessner got off the ground earlier this year:
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Where Diho Apartments Left Off
The developers behind the Plaza 88 retail center on Beltway 8 south of Bellaire Blvd. are now marketing the 2 existing buildings in their planned 5-building complex to those looking to get in on them. And already, an eclectic group has leapt at the opportunity. Texas Star Bingo Hall is the latest to sign up for space; it filed a building permit last week to take over most of the second story in the double-decker strip shown above. Below it, DSI Chinatown Hemodialysis Center and a separate but equal-in-size senior center will split the ground floor — and potentially provide a good portion of the customers base for what’s upstairs.
South of the strip, an additional one-story retail building sits perpendicular to it. That’s where a venue dubbed the High End Bellaire Gun Range will go ballistic next to a not-yet-leased space set to buffer it from a restaurant at the other end of the building, as shown in the site plan below:
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Getting in Edgewise
WHAT’S BLOCKING THE BRAYS BAYOU TRAIL That sign posted just west of Chimney Rock declaring that the Brays Bayou trail “connects 31 miles of uninterrupted, off-street, multi-use trails and greenspace from the Ship Channel to George Bush Park and the Addicks-Barker Reservoir” is more aspirational than accurate at this point, a Houston Parks Board official admits to David Olinger. (“It got ahead of itself, let’s put it that way.”) Olinger set out to walk the supposed marathon-distance-plus continuum, but found it blocked and interrupted by construction zones, an unidentified fork to a neighboring bayou, and dead ends, including some fronting 7-miles-worth of land adjacent to Arthur Storey Park the parks board is still in the process of acquiring: “I tried walking west from Kirkwood and waded into knee-high weeds. I tried walking north on Kirkwood and found no trail. I drove up and down Kirkwood, searching in vain for Arthur Storey Park. Finally I consulted a map — and found the park about 2.5 miles northeast from the westbound Kirkwood dead end.” The Bayou Greenways trail system is expected to connect that length of Brays Bayou by 2020. [Houston Chronicle; previously on Swamplot] Photo of Brays Bayou trail: Jan Buchholtz
The drive-your-drinks-home daquiri shop planned for former MJ Motorcars office island at 8275 Beechnut St. (in the parking lot of stripmall nightclub Club Tequila) isn’t just going to be a drive-thru bar, a media rep for Prime Daquiri tells Swamplot. The rep says it’ll have a full kitchen, too — and that the company will be opting for screwtop bottles for their drinks instead of a Louisiana-style tape-on-the-top arrangement, as far as legal distribution goes. The landscaping and portico in the above rendering of the remodel show options for customers on foot, as well — or perhaps even those who want to dine (or drink) in. The bar is planned near the parking lot’s Watermill Express kiosk, though going the nonalcoholic route will require self-service.
Images: John Mene (rendering); Erick Ganzo (photo)
The 1980’s kiosk formerly used to run MJ Motorcars out of the expansive parking lot of the Southwest Plaza Shopping Center, a reader notes, is now being turned into a drive-thru daiquiri shop. Houston has been slowly picking up on the tape-over-the-strawhole skirting of open container laws over the last few years; the new Prime Daiquiri location in front of 8150 Beechnut St. will provide an alternative for those with no time to hit up Club Tequila in one the retail center’s anchor spots (between noodle shop Tau Bay, the freshly opened Planet Fitness branch, and Harbor Freight Tools).
A site plan included in Investar Real Estate Services’s leasing flier for the property shows the to-go bar in place in the kiosk, as well as a few new pad sites drawn into place near by:
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Prime Daiquiri Location in Sharpstown
SALVATION ARMY DONATION CENTER WILL SOON TAKE YOUR GLASS RECYCLING, TOO The first 2 of 10 planned locations for a new city-backed glass recycling pilot program will open this weekend. In the wake of the elimination of glass this March from the city’s single-stream contract with Waste Management, glass hoarder and reseller Strategic Materials is opening up a collection point at Sharpstown Park (at 6600 Harbor Town Dr., across from Sharptown Dental Clinic and the Sharpstown Country Club), and not at the Sharpstown Park Apartments on Bellaire Blvd. as accidentally initially advertised). That drop spot will be accessible during normal park hours; the company is also opening a 24-hour drop site at the Washington Ave Salvation Army Family Store & Donation Center, across Hemphill St. from the Salvation Army Adult Rehab Center and across Washington from Darkhorse Tavern. If the first 10 spots work out, the city says that more locations could eventually be added. [City of Houston] Photo of Salvation Army Donation Center at 2208 Washington Ave: Vincent M.
THE FUTURE OF HOUSTON IS ON HILLCROFT NOW Armed with a few stats, Monica Rhor takes a look at Hillcroft Ave, ground zero for the Great Houston Influx: “More than 1 million immigrants — one of every four residents — call Harris County home, and the percentage holds true across 10 surrounding counties. From 2000 to 2010, Houston gained 400,000 foreign-born residents, more than any other U.S. city except New York. Last year, the county received 4,818 refugees from 40 different countries, the most of any county in Texas. The newcomers have done more than shift our demographics. They have created a metropolis where one-third of business owners are foreign-born, where the number of Buddhists, Muslims and Hindus has tripled in the last three decades, where more than 100 languages are spoken by students attending Houston public schools.” Hillcroft, of course is only the area of greatest concentration: “Immigrant communities are dispersed across Harris County — from the southwest side to The Woodlands, from Spring to Pasadena. Over the last two decades, even as the number of foreign-born residents has increased, segregation levels have decreased. Two out of every five people speak a language other than English.” [Houston Chronicle] Map: John D. Harden
Tiles run below, above, and in between the rooms of a 1967 Sharpstown Country Club Terrace home that’s also stocked with rustic, handcrafted wooden doors. In place of a garage, there’s a “casita,” its listing last week touts. Located north of Beechnut St. and east of Gessner St., the palm-fronted property has a $265K asking price.
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When Modern Went Heavy Tile
COMMENT OF THE DAY: WHAT I SHOULD HAVE SAID ABOUT STRAKE JESUIT “If people want to self-segregate and move somewhere like The Woodlands, great. I’m glad they are free to do that. What I don’t understand is the myopia that self-segregation can create, when people forget that anyone would ever value anything else over clean and shiny (and white) suburbs.
An example of what bothers me so much: I was leaving a Strake Jesuit football game earlier this year, and a Woodlands dad and I fell into conversation on the way out. He commented “this is such a great campus. Too bad it’s in this neighborhood.” As a SJ parent, I didn’t have any choice but to answer him politely, so I murmured something about how the lower property costs made it possible for the school to buy more land to improve and expand. But in reality, I was just incensed by his comments — still am, actually. What, a working class neighborhood doesn’t deserve something nice like a private school campus in it? The school has nothing to offer the neighborhood, and vice versa? The neighborhood has less value in absolute terms because it’s not wealthy, or aesthetically pleasing? What is it about living somewhere like The Woodlands that changes the way a person thinks, that they can look at the (abundant) life going on outside their clean little bubble and not recognize its value? I don’t have an answer to this question — it just bothers me an awful lot.” [Vonnegan, commenting on How The Woodlands Has Gone Astray; A Suitable Houston Honor for the Inventor of Air Conditioning] Illustration: Lulu
From its artsy custom entry door in front (above) to its pea-gravel-surround pool, a Sharpstown Country Club Estates home that backs up to Sharpstown Golf Course faces turning 50 as a well-preserved specimen. Could its ground-bound roofline be a design nod to the street’s name (Tam O’ Shanter)? The 1965 property time-warped onto the MLS last week, asking $325,000.
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A reader sends this photo, taken Saturday morning along the southbound Southwest Fwy. feeder, of what the Chase branch in Westwood has been hiding from you all these years — or the branch signage, at least: The original logo of the Texas Commerce Bank, which was established here at 9525 Bissonnet back in 1974 and which merged with Chase in the ’80s. The more up-to-date signage must have fallen off or been removed, notes the reader, who was a little moved to see that well-preserved and clean-cut Helvetica: “It brought back a lot of memories.”
Photo: Swamplot inbox