03/02/16 12:30pm

FALLEN SPORTS AUTHORITY FILES FOR BANKRUPTCY, PREPARES FOR 140-STORE SHUTDOWN Sports Authority, Portofino Shopping Center, Shenandoah, Texas, 77385Sports Authority filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy this morning, after some January lay-offs and a multi-million-dollar missed interest payment. Sports Authority had already announced the planned closure of some 140 underperforming stores; employees at a Dallas branch were told in February that all Texas stores would close, including the 11 in and around Houston.  The company now says those closings will occur over the next 3 months; CEO Michael Foss told the Denver Post that the timeline will hopefully give the 3,400 employees anticipated to be let go “plenty of time to find their next opportunity, whether it’s in the company, or wherever else it is.” [Denver Post; previously on Swamplot] Photo of Sports Authority in Portofino Shopping Center: Woodlands Monocle

02/18/16 3:15pm

UNDERMINED SPORTS AUTHORITY TO ABANDON TEXAS AS OTHER BIG BOXES ADVANCE WITH GUNS Sports Authority, 2131 Post Oak Blvd., Uptown, Houston, 77056Sports Authority, which in its glory days subsumed East End-based Oshman’s Sporting Goods, is now preparing to pull out of Texas altogether, writes Maria Halkias of the Dallas Morning News. The company laid off 100 employees in January, and was reported to be looking into Chapter 11 after missing a $21-million interest payment on its $643 million debt. Last week the company’s representatives told workers at a store in Dallas that all 25 of the Texas locations would be shuttered, though they didn’t say when. The closures look to include 11 Houston-area shops, part of 140 Sports Authority locations to be culled nationally; Jeff Kittleson of CBRE retail services in Dallas also told the Morning News that there will be “a garden variety of big box users who will want to reposition stores into these locations. Indoor sporting goods not-quite-theme-park Cabela’s is already slated to open up in League City shortly, and Dick’s Sporting Goods signed leases on spaces at Baybrook, Deerbrook, Willowbrook, First Colony, and The Woodlands malls last year. [Dallas Morning News, HBJ] Photo of Sports Authority at 2131 Post Oak Blvd.: Gil G.

01/18/16 11:30am

H-E-B EXPLORING TINY STORES AS WALMART THROWS IN THE TOWEL Meanwhile, in San Antonio: As big-box giant Walmart nixes all of its Express mini-stores amid a larger batch of closures, H-E-B is making way for a full-service convenience store with an attached Wendy’s near the northwest corner of Loop 1604. H-E-B officials have been slow to confirm details of the new store, which is reportedly on the order of 7,500 sq. ft. and estimated to cost roughly $2.7 million. The Texas grocery chain frequently operates a small kiosk at its gas-proffering full-sized store locations, but only a handful of the full-service convenience stores currently exist; the one in Lytle, TX, contains a Whataburger. [Virtual Builders Exchange, via PaperCity]

01/15/16 1:30pm

Walmart Supercenter, 7075 FM 1960 W, Willowbrook Mall, Houston, 77069

The king of big-box retail announced plans this morning to close the Walmart Supercenter at 7075 FM 1960 West, behind Willowbrook Mall at the intersection with Cutten Rd. The Supercenter will close on January 28th after more than 2 decades of operation; a Walmart Neighborhood Market at 2740 Gessner Rd. (south of Kempwood Dr.) will also close on the same day.

The Supercenter (not to be confused with the one 4 miles up FM 1960 at the corner with T.C. Jester) is one of 154 US stores that will close, as the chain works to assure that its “assets [are] aligned with strategy”. Currently, there are 17 Walmart stores on or inside Beltway 8, and 4 Walmart Supercenters along FM 1960 between 249 and Atascocita.

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Boxing Up on FM 1960
08/15/14 12:00pm

Proposed Site Plan for Shoppes at Uptown Crossing Shopping Center, S. Rice Ave. and Westpark, Houston

The site plan for the Shoppes at Uptown Crossing shopping center planned for a 3.5-acre lot at the southeast corner of Westpark and S. Rice Ave across from Sam’s Club has undergone a big change since Swamplot last featured it in April. A giant Walmart Supercenter is now shown in the southeast corner of the L-shaped parcel, facing S. Rice Ave. but shielded from the street by a sprinkling of fast-foody pad sites — including spots earmarked for an El Pollo Loco, a Chick Fil A, a Jack-in-the-Box, and a Starbucks. The requisite huge parking lot stands between the Walmart and its chain-store add-ons.

The new 32,000-sq.-ft. building for the soon-to-be-relocated Micro Center is going north of the Walmart, pushed close to Westpark, taking its entrance from S. Rice Ave. directly across the street from Sam’s Club. Shown tucked just south of Micro Center is a new TownePlace Suites hotel.

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South of the Galleria
06/18/14 12:00pm

At Home, Former Garden Ridge Superstore, Douglasville, Georgia

Garden Ridge Rebranding SignThose 7 Garden Ridge stores around the Houston area that sell lots of mirrors and rugs and pots and silky fake flowers but no garden equipment or hills aren’t closing, but they will soon sport new names. The entire 21-state chain is rebranding itself, store by store, to a name that’s both more descriptive and more generic: At Home. And CEO Lee Bird, who earlier this year yanked the home-goods company’s headquarters away from Houston and moved it to Dallas, appears to have been inspired by his colleagues in the fashion industry: “We want to be known as the Forever 21 of home decor,” he tells the Dallas Morning News, “fast and affordable.” No announcement has been made explaining when the Willowbrook, Woodlands, Humble, Westheimer, Katy, Sugar Land, or Webster Garden Ridge locations will get their new blue-and-gray signage and the new “Home Decor Superstore” tagline, but the entire $20 million project is scheduled to be complete before the end of the year.

Photos: Jonathan Dockery/Carrollton Menu (At Home in Douglasville, Georgia); robincharmagne (sign)

Make Yourself at Home
05/06/14 10:30am

20 PERCENT OFF ALL OFFICEMAX AND OFFICE DEPOT LOCATIONS Office Depot, 3443 Kirby Dr. at Richmond, Upper Kirby, HoustonA total 400 OfficeMax and Office Depot stores will shut down nationwide150 of them by the end of the year, the combined company announced today. Office Depot bought OfficeMax last year, resulting in a dual-named office-products giant with 1,900 locations. No specific closings have been announced yet for this round; the Houston area still has 28 Office Depots and 10 OfficeMaxes, according to website store locators. Earlier this year, Staples announced it would close 225 stores; it’s now down from 11 to 9 Houston-area spots. [AP; previously on Swamplot] Photo of 3443 Kirby Dr. location: Douglas W.

04/21/14 3:30pm

Future Site of Micro Center, 5205 S. Rice Ave., Uptown Crossing, Houston

The 3.5-acre field at the corner of S. Rice Ave. and Westpark shown here, where the Wald Relocation Services complex stood until 6 years ago, will be the site of the new Micro Center store later this year. The site plan for the Uptown Crossing shopping center intended for this location shows a big-box store set way back in the right distance, at the end of a new curvy street-drive thing cut through to it from S. Rice, across from Sam’s Club. That’s the most likely spot for the 32,000-sq.-ft. building Micro Center is planning. Micro Center sold off its larger 47,759-sq.-ft. West Loop location to Amegy Bank earlier this year. Here’s a rendering of the new, terrifically brown-and-boxy big box Micro Center:

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Big Computer Box in Field
03/17/14 12:00pm

Construction of Sam's Club #6867, Parkway Lakes Ln., Richmond, Texas

Construction work has begun on the exciting new Sam’s Club #6867, which will face onto the Grand Pkwy. just north of Bellaire Blvd. in Richmond, as this reader photo taken from Parkway Lakes Ln. attests. The 136,454-sq.-ft. store will be surrounded by a sea of 529 parking spaces and 13 cart corrals on a 15-acre site just south of the Westpark Tollway:

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@ Westpark Toll Rd.
03/15/13 3:30pm

The excavator in the distance, the pick-up trucks, and the port-a-potty can mean only one thing: Here comes the Idylwood Walmart. Last week, a construction trailer showed up on the north end of the 28-acre site near the Gulf Fwy. on Wayside. This week, the heavy equipment started rolling in, chomping on trash trees along the property’s fences and churning up dust to make way for the city’s second store inside the Loop. So far, though, this proposed 185,00 sq. footer doesn’t appear to have attracted the same scorn as its predecessor on Yale St.

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02/08/13 12:45pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: RECREATING GREAT MOMENTS IN BIG BOX HISTORY “Ironically the glass facade is strikingly similar to a designed, but never built Great Indoors store prototype that was slated to open in 2004. The prototype coincided with the merger of Sears with Kmart when all new concept development (and gross profit) for Sears ceased. Pity.” [Hdtex, commenting on Great New Indoors Replacing The Old Great Indoors]

07/18/12 12:39pm

Does the conversion of 2 former Borders Books locations (or at least part of them) into some sort of medical facility constitute a trend? Texas Children’s Pediatric Associates is building a clinic in the former Borders mezzanine space in the not-in-River-Oaks Centre at River Oaks at the corner of West Alabama and Kirby. And Kelsey-Seybold announced yesterday it’ll be turning the former Borders store in Meyerland Plaza — along with the long-vacant Planet Music space above it — into a new medical clinic and pharmacy. Of the 72,000 sq. ft. in the new “Multi-Specialty Care Center,” 27,000 will be used as warehouse space, according to a company press release.

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06/08/12 5:39pm

Driving along Yale St. under the railroad bridge that crosses it just north of Center St. in the West End yesterday, a Swamplot reader noticed workers removing the bright French colors from the retaining wall of the underpass. “This area was painted that red, white, and blue that seemed to match Walmart’s trade dress right before the deal went public,” the reader notes. But the Walmart going in just west of Yale St. is due to be clothed in earthier tones. “I wish we knew who paid for the paint job then, and who is paying for the removal now,” the reader writes.

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05/11/12 10:28am

“A couple things still remain up in the air,” about the new Walmart going in just south of Idylwood, reports East End blogger Lauren H. from that neighborhood’s front lines: “Like whether they are going to hire security or whether they are going to be able to sell alcohol.” After recent plan changes, the neighborhood’s southern border will end up with a buffer of at least 61 ft. from the big-box store’s parking lot. The store has grown, too: an additional 35,000 sq. ft. from a reduction announced early last year, made easier after the company bought the property directly on the corner of Wayside and the Gulf Fwy. feeder. It’ll end up at approximately 185,000 sq. ft., according to the recent plans she’s posted on her site. The corner purchase makes possible a second entrance from the feeder road, and resulted in a shift of the store’s garden and auto center to its Idylwood side:

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10/12/11 5:16pm

PLEASE BRING YOUR FINAL PURCHASES TO CONROE FOR CHECKOUT Any plans to rebuild the Garden Ridge store at the northern border of The Woodlands on I-45 near Hwy. 242 — destroyed by fire today — will likely get careful scrutiny: “As one of the city’s ‘big box’ stores, Garden Ridge straddles the city limits between Conroe and The Woodlands Township. The cash registers are located in Conroe, the result of an annexation agreement reached between the neighboring communities in 2006.” [Montgomery County Courier] Photo: KHOU