08/16/18 4:00pm

Orange fencing is condoning off the corner of the Westchase Shopping Center where a new Regions Bank is planned in place of the El Palenque that shuttered there in May. A demolition permit issued for the restaurant building exactly a week ago means its days are numbered. But for now it’s still standing, fronted by landscaping and the new Port-o-Potty pair visible in the photo at top from Walnut Bend Ln., just shy of Westheimer.

Also on its last legs: the bank’s nearest existing branch on S. Kirkwood near the Westheimer H-E-B. A company spokesperson told the HBJ‘s Olivia Pulsinelli in June that the planned new branch will take over business in the area.

Photos: Jose Galvan (fencing); Troy M. (El Palenque)

Branching Out
05/15/18 11:45am

The Kroger at 5235 Aldine Mail Rd. closed down late last year, but 1st Convenience Bank remained open inside the 47,622-sq.-ft. store for about 2 weeks. The branch then relocated to the portable building that’s now sitting in the grocery parking lot, just west of A Autoworks’ adjacent repair shop.

Weitzman Management is marketing the 4.3-acre property for sale. Aside from the buildings and parking lot, the land includes an eastern appendage that stretches across the boundaries of a separate set of parcels before butting up directly against 59:

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Mobile Banking
10/19/17 4:45pm

HOW ALLIGATORS WORKED THEIR WAY INTO THE FIRST NATIONAL BANK OF ALVIN “The First Bank of Alvin has been home to alligators for nearly half a century. In 1969, a rice farmer donated three 6-inch gator hatchlings to the bank, to live in its goldfish pond, according to an Associated Press story, published in 1983. The trio — J. Paul Gator, Mitzi Gator and William Teller Gator — soon grew to be about 7 feet long, and became a major attraction for locals. The goldfish didn’t last long. By the late ’70s, the gators had become such a celebrated part of the bank that when owner A. Guy Crouch made plans to move to a new $4 million facility, he spent $250,000 to build them a habitat: an open courtyard with an in-ground pool and a couple of waterfalls, right at the glassed-in center of the bank’s five-story building. The Alligatrium, he called it.” [Houston Chronicle] Video: waltpinkston

10/08/14 12:30pm

2 CORNER BANK BUILDINGS BANISHED FROM BANKING FOREVER Former Washington Mutual Bank Building, 7019 Barker Cypress Rd., Cypress, TexasThis 3,848-sq.-ft. former WaMu at the intersection of Barker Cypress Rd. and FM 529 Rd. has been vacant and on the market for a good 5 years now. It’s surrounded by parking spaces on a 1.152-acre lot and features a spacious 5-lane drive-thru in back. Along with a twin structure at the intersection of Louetta Rd. and N. Eldridge Pkwy. (also for sale), the Cypress building has been forcibly retired from its banking career. Chase Bank, which bought up all the Washington Mutual corner-bank leftovers, spat out locations like these it considered too close to existing Chase banks — with restrictions to prevent another bank from moving in. A few more restrictions potential buyers of the structure at 7019 Barker Cypress Rd. will want to note: You can’t put a burger joint, a nail salon, a hair salon, or a dentist’s office in there either, because any of those (as well as a few other uses) would duplicate the offerings of establishments in the adjacent Signature Kroger shopping center from which the pad site was spun off. Still-asking price: $1.1 million. [The Weitzman Group]

08/05/13 5:00pm

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

02/27/13 10:00am

Update, 4:48 p.m.: The map and drawing are not part of UCR Houston’s active plans, a representative from the retail advisor tells Swamplot; UCR is not marketing this property and does not represent and has never represented the property’s current owner. Read more here.

Is this where even more retail development will be coming to the Heights? UCR MoodyRambin Page is marketing A reader alerts Swamplot to a flyer representing a possible plan for this 4-acre site on Yale St. north of the Washington Heights Walmart and the recently sold San Jacinto Stone property — that’s that big empty green square right next to I-10 — for a bank and fast-food restaurants.

You can see a more detailed site plan after the jump:

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07/20/12 1:41pm

The robbers who held up a couple of IBC Bank locations inside Houston-area Kroger stores in 2 separate incidents over the last few months won’t have those branches to kick around any more. The IBC Bank in the Kroger at 11565 Hwy. 6 South in Sugar Land (at the corner of West Airport) and the one in the store at 3135 FM 528 and Bay Area Blvd. in Friendswood (featured in the surveillance video still above) have now been shut down — along with 2 other in-Kroger locations. The closings weren’t a direct result of the robberies, but part of International Bancshares Corp.’s plan to close up grocery-store locations — which have grown unprofitable as a result of new restrictions on bank fees — and open a few more standalone branches. IBC closed 20 Houston-area grocery-store branches — 19 in H-E-B Markets and another inside a Randall’s — last December.

Photo of suspect in Friendswood Kroger IBC Bank: Bay Area Citizen

04/18/11 8:06am

Moving into the site of the 7-story Compass Bank building demolished a year and a half ago at 2200 Post Oak Blvd., a block north of the Galleria: the bank’s new corporate parent, BBVA Compass. The subsidiary of Spanish banking giant BBVA will be leasing at least 6 floors of a new 20-story tower being developed on that location by the Redstone Companies and Stream Realty Partners. Not officially announced but still apparently planned for the northern portion of the same 6-and-a-half-acre parcel (the grassy area in the foreground of the rendering above, along Guilford Ct.): a second office building, hotel, and more structured parking. Redstone and Stream Realty had previously been marketing the mixed-use property as The Perennial.

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11/16/10 2:51pm

A 2-story Frost Bank with a drive thru will take over the Kirby side of the former Village Plaza shopping center between Dunstan and Bolsover — once the demo company finishes smashing the Bike Barn, Mattress Giant, and the shells of a few other stores its been chewing on, reports the Village News. Frost bought the 35,000-sq.-ft. leftover portion of the center at 5925 Kirby earlier this month from the Children’s Assessment Center. The CAC plans to expand its Rice Village “campus” (named after attorney John M. O’Quinn) and build a parking garage on the back half of the property.

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06/25/10 11:23am

MAKING THE TITLE INSURANCE PAY A Harris County district court has ordered Stewart Title Guaranty to pay $2.8 million to a Sugar Land developer after the title company failed to pay out on a title policy. Back in 2007, Ponderosa Land Development was hoping to build a Chase Bank branch at the corner of Settlers Way and Highway 6. AmeriPoint Title, the title company for the transaction, had obtained title insurance from Stewart Title to cover its work. But AmeriPoint’s title search failed to uncover a deed restriction on the property that specifically prohibited banks from being built on that site: “Stewart Title only offered to pay $200,000 of the $1.83 million title policy, arguing that the land was not worth that much. [Ponderosa’s James] Chang says the purchase price was dictated by the value of the property with the ground lease to JP Morgan and planned sale of the bank to an investor upon completion. Ponderosa is now free to sell the vacant property. Houston Suds has had a contract to buy the site for $953,000 since November 2008, but could not close the transaction and build a car wash until the legal matter was resolved.” [Houston Business Journal; previously on Swamplot]

04/16/10 11:17am

WHEN ALL THOSE CORNERS WERE ITCHING FOR BANKS Coming soon to a courthouse near you: Ponderosa Land Development Co. and the bank corner that got away: “Ponderosa bought nearly an acre in Sugar Land three years ago from Gateway Financial for a price of $1.8 million. The land at the corner of State Highway 6 and Settlers Way was purchased for development of a JP Morgan Chase Bank branch. Over the past five years, Ponderosa has built about 50 bank branches in Texas for Chase Bank. [Ponderosa’s James] Chang says Ponderosa had already secured a long-term ground lease with the bank, and an investor was lined up to buy the property once the building was complete. Shortly after the land acquisition closed in April 2007, Ponderosa demolished a gas station that was operating on the site to prepare for construction of the bank branch. In the process, Ponderosa learned that the Sugar Land site carries a deed restriction prohibiting construction of a financial institution. The alleged oversight on the part of AmeriPoint [Title] in conducting a title search put the brakes on development. ‘Missing the restriction was kind of an important miss,’ says Chang. Stewart Title wrote a title insurance policy based on AmeriPoint’s work. . . . Ponderosa filed suit in July 2008 to recover the $1.8 million land purchase price. The firm is also seeking $1.6 million for three years of lost profits. Ponderosa tried to collect on the firm’s $1.8 million title insurance policy, but Chang says Stewart Title claims the diminished value of the land is $200,000.” [Houston Business Journal]

07/24/09 4:16pm

WAITING FOR THAT GUARANTY BANK FAILURE It’s sure looking like the 27 Houston branches of Austin’s Guaranty Bank, the second-largest publicly traded bank in Texas, are headed for an FDIC takeover — or maybe something more fun. “The company believes that it is probable that it will not be able to continue as a going concern,” the bank’s parent company noted in a recent regulatory filing. “Industry insiders have mentioned as many as four regional U.S. banks, including an undisclosed bank based in Houston, as being at the ready to scoop up Guaranty assets if the bank fails.” [Houston Business Journal]