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.


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:


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:


@ 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.


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.


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.


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:


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

09/19/11 8:45am

FURNISHED RETAIL AVAILABLE Reporting on the desires of several big-box retailers to shrink the size of their stores, David Kaplan notes the owners of Ashley Furniture are considering subleasing 6,000 to 15,000 sq. ft. of space in any of the company’s 9 Houston-area stores. “‘It would have to be a good fit,’ [CEO Gary] Seals said. Ashley would adapt to a smaller space by taking slower-selling merchandise off the floor, Seals said.” [Houston Chronicle] Photo: Ashley Furniture

02/02/11 4:48pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: NOMINATED FOR THE WALMART PEACE PRIZE “. . . If everyone arguing against the West End Walmart would stand up and say, ‘I don’t personally like Walmart but I certainly don’t think less of you for thinking they are not so bad’ then we would probably all get along much better.” [Jimbo, commenting on Surprise! Walmart Buying Land Next to Idylwood for Houston’s First Inner-Loop SuperCenter]

02/02/11 10:31am

Just as Swamplot was reporting on the leaked site plan showing that a new full-size Walmart SuperCenter is being planned off the Gulf Fwy. at South Wayside Dr., Councilmember James Rodriguez comes back from a meeting with the company waving a slightly different site plan. And look, this one shows the proposed East End store between Idylwood and the freeway has already slimmed down by 58,000 sq. ft.! Does that qualify as a rollback? Plus: This plan (shown above, again rotated to fit Swamplot’s format) features 13 more parking spaces! Meanwhile, Walmart spokesperson Kellie Duhr tells the Chronicle the new store would be “about 150,000 sq. ft.” and feature a full grocery. That number jibes with the plan above. Also included this time, at no additional charge: an extra Tire and Lube Express next to the Garden Center on the south side. One curious detail, though: Both this plan and the one featured in Swamplot’s story on Monday are labeled with the same date.

What’s going into the lot at the corner of Maxwell Rd. and the I-45 feeder next to the driveway at the southwest corner of the site, labeled “Outlot 1” on both plans? A source tells Swamplot it’s being eyed for a gas station from Walmart sidekick Murphy Oil.

Plan: Doucet and Associates

01/31/11 2:33pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: TO THE VICTOR GO THE SPOILS “Undoubtedly, Walmart was attracted to Idylwood by Swamplot’s prestigious ‘Best Neighborhood’ award. I am now thankful my beloved River Oaks was omitted from the contest.” [LandedGent, commenting on Surprise! Walmart Buying Land Next to Idylwood for Houston’s First Inner-Loop SuperCenter]