04/17/15 3:15pm

Royal Oaks Village II Shopping Center, Westchase, Houston

Here’s an aerial view of the Royal Oaks Village II shopping center, where the Houston area’s fifth Trader Joe’s is already under construction behind the Harvest Organic Grille. (That’s the unidentified pad-site restaurant at the top right of the shopping center, which is outlined in red.) There the new grocery store take its place among a spread of nearby food-shopping options along the south side of Westheimer, which include the Walmart Supercenter at W. Houston Center Blvd., the Chick-Fil-A and H-E-B at Kirkwood, and the Whole Foods Market at Wilcrest.

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Parking Lot Touchdown
02/26/15 11:45am

H-E-B Nogalitos Market, 1601 Nogalitos St., San Antonio, Texas

H-E-B Bellaire Market, 5130 Cedar St., Bellaire, TexasThe new 70,000-sq.-ft. grocery store H-E-B is hoping to build to replace its current location near the intersection of Bissonnet St. and S. Rice Ave. in Bellaire (pictured in the bottom photo) may fit most of its parking space underneath the store. Speaking to Bellaire residents at a meeting earlier this week, officials from the company described an option that would require demolition of the entire shopping center at 5100 Cedar St. — including the existing 20,000-sq.-ft. H-E-B store and all adjacent stores. In its place would go up a 70,000-sq.-ft. store with parking underneath and in front. All shopping would be on the second floor.

To help describe the concept, officials showed images of the company’s store on Nogalitos St. in San Antonio (pictured in the top photo), which opened last month. That store, which is only 62,000 sq. ft., features a first-floor parking garage and a “travelator” (similar to one of the escalators installed to connect the garage to the entrance of the new Post Oak Blvd. Whole Foods Market) to move shoppers and their carts between levels. (The low structure in front of the building is a preserved section of the façade of the previous store on that site.)

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Upper Level Groceries
02/12/15 12:45pm

Frenchy's Barber Shop, 5106 Cedar St., Bellaire, Texas

Is H-E-B planning to build a new Bellaire store in the triangle-shaped block surrounded by S. Rice Ave., Bissonnet, and Cedar St., in the north corner of the Bellaire Triangle? This week’s Southwest News implies that the Texas-based grocery company is: “H-E-B has tentatively reserved Bellaire’s Civic Center auditorium on Feb. 24 for the Big Reveal: a new supermarket for Bellaire,” reads the page-one story, which also notes that engineers have submitted a planned development request with the city for an H-E-B at 5106 Cedar St., to be heard by the zoning commission on March 10.

But H-E-B Houston division president Scott McClelland tells Swamplot that the Cedar St. spot is only “one location we are considering. Because of the size and shape of the center, we would have to be innovative in our approach. We have not locked down firm plans at this time.”

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Bellaire Triangle
12/12/14 10:30am

richwood-market-freaky-foods-west-view

Is there more change coming to lower Richmond?

The former Shell station and grocery at 1810 Richmond Ave known until recently (formally) known as Richwood Market and (informally) as “Freaky Foods” is boarded up and graffiti-tagged:

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Death Knell For The Shell?
11/06/14 4:00pm

supermercado-walmart-long-pt

Supermercado de Walmart, 7690 Long Point Rd., Spring Branch, HoustonHouston’s (and America’s) first Walmart grocery store named and designed to cater to Latinos shut its doors at the end of last week. Supermercado de Walmart opened 5 years ago in Spring Branch in a converted 39,000-square-foot Neighborhood Market-style store at 7960 Long Point Rd., amid a fanfare of mariachi music and a smorgasbord of free food and drink samples. Those days are long gone: A reader sends in a pic (at right) of the far more offhand sign taped to the glass door. 

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Spring Branch Supermarket Shutdown
11/04/14 12:30pm

whole-foods-post-oak-cosmo

Swamplot culled through the best of the many media previews of the Whole Foods Market Houston-area flagship on Post Oak Blvd. — so you don’t have to! Yes, the much-hyped supermarket is finally throwing open its doors to the public Thursday. (Free reusable shopping bag to the first 500 customers!) So here is a quick round-up of the wonders within the 8-years-in-the-making anchor development in BLVD Place:

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Post Oak Supermarket Tizzy
10/09/14 2:45pm

THE NEW H-E-B AT SAN FELIPE AND FOUNTAINVIEW WILL TAKE OVER WHERE LUPE TORTILLA’S SANDBOXES LEFT OFF Rendering of New H-E-B Market, Fountainview Dr. and San Felipe Dr., HoustonFormer Haven chef and now JCI (James Coney Island) and H-E-B consultant Randy Evans drops a few notable details about the new H-E-B now under construction at the corner of San Felipe and Fountain View, where he’s helping create the chain’s first Houston in-grocery-store restaurant: “We’re looking at beer and wine for this store. There’s going to be a great patio and a stage for live music. There’s going to be an [outdoor] area for the kids to play so you can sit and have a glass of wine, have some bites and have your kids have a good time before you go shopping.” The store is scheduled to open in January. [Eating Our Words; previously on Swamplot] Rendering: H-E-B

10/06/14 5:15pm

Georgia's Market Downtown, 420 Main St. at Rusk St., Downtown Houston

The number of grocery-store-type places open Downtown is down by one: Georgia’s Market, the cafe-and-bar-with-staples at the corner of Rusk and Main St., shut down at the end of last month. A note on the door at 420 Main St. informs customers that the 3-year-old establishment has closed for some sort of “revamp,” and refers patrons to the company’s website for “days open and future plans.” But the website isn’t much more helpful. “Thank you all for your past patronage and healthy intentions. Please stay tuned to further development at the Downtown location,” it notes dryly. The Georgia’s Market Memorial Village (now at 9201 Katy Fwy. at Piney Point; the one at Dairy Ashford closed) remains open.

Photo: EaDo Life

09/16/14 1:30pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: FULLY QUALIFIED TO BRING YOU BEER BY TRICYCLE WHILE YOU SHOP Whole Foods Market Tricycle“I submitted my résumé for the position. As an expedition touring cyclist I think I’m qualified to make a few rounds within 55k sq. ft. toting clanging bottles of beer. Instead of wearing weather resistant gear I think I’ll gladly don tweed knickers and a driving cap to look the part. Here’s to 1mph in the meat section. Wish me luck Houston. I ride with the wind.” [Rider of Rohan., commenting on Galleria Whole Foods Market Opening November 6, Will Include Austin-Import Beer-on-a-Trike] Illustration: Lulu

09/15/14 1:00pm

GALLERIA WHOLE FOODS MARKET OPENING NOVEMBER 6, WILL INCLUDE AUSTIN-IMPORT BEER-ON-A-TRIKE BLVD Place Whole Foods Market Under Construction, 1700 Post Oak Blvd., Galleria, HoustonThe long-awaited BLVD Place Whole Foods Market will finally open on November 6, reports the HBJ‘s Jenny Agee-Aldridge. And the grocery juggernaut has fed her another notable market-marketing nugget: Shoppers at the new 55,000-sq.-ft. store at 1700 Post Oak Blvd. will be able to make beer orders and receive deliveries while shopping — from a beer-toting store employee riding a tricycle around the market. The non-motorized alcohol delivery setup, Agee-Aldridge notes, is an Austin import. But the beer source is a Houston first: The store will be the first Whole Foods’ anywhere to have its own brewery on the premises, and will feature beer-themed breads and desserts as well. [Houston Business Journal; previously on Swamplot] Photo: Russell Hancock

07/31/14 11:00am

highland-knolls-westgreen-site

Corner of Highland Knolls Blvd. and Westgreen, Katy, TexasFrom the Swamplot tip jar comes this little cookie: A site plan for an unnamed grocery store and 3 fast-food drive-thru or bank-style pad sites on Highland Knolls Dr., across Westgreen Blvd. from Memorial Parkway Junior High School in Katy. And with it comes only a “rumor”: that the grocery would be a Walmart Neighborhood Market like the one the company is now constructing in nearby Cinco Ranch. The average size of a Walmart Neighborhood Market is 38,000 sq. ft., about one-fifth the size of a typical Supercenters.

The former Spring Branch Church of the Nazarene (now known as the Living Word Church of the Nazarene) purchased the 9.75-acre corner property in 2004. According to a report in Covering Katy back in February, the church had already requested the property be designated commercial.

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Next to Apartment Site
07/14/14 2:00pm

Harrisburg Crossing, 4300-4500 Harrisburg Blvd. at Lockwood, East End, Houston

Former Historic Houston Salvage Warehouse, 4300 Harrisburg Blvd., East End, HoustonUpdate, 3:30 pm: A spokesperson for H-E-B informs Swamplot that the company has no plans for a Joe V’s Smart Shop in this area. Separately, a rep from Lovett Commercial indicates that the plans and declaration posted on its website that a Joe V’s Smart Shop is coming to the center are “outdated,” and that no grocery store is currently planned for that site. We’ve updated the story below accordingly.

This row of metal warehouse buildings at 4300 Harrisburg Blvd. was used for a time recently as a temporary home for the Historic Houston salvage warehouse and more recently as a spraypaint-covered tribute to the deceased graffiti artist known as Nekst (see video below) — will be torn down to make way for a new grocery store from H-E-B, according to site plans posted online by the property’s developer. The 5.34-acre site, which stretches between Oakhurst St. and Eastwood St., sits just east of the Maximus Coffee plant east of Downtown, and just north of Eastwood. This should be the first new grocery store built on a light rail line, but it won’t be a conventional H-E-B. Instead, the plans show it’ll be a Joe V’s Smart Shop, the Texas grocery chain’s low-cost, low-selection, high-volume, low-touch warehouse-style market.

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No Ice
07/03/14 2:00pm

Aerial View of Hughes Landing Under Construction, The Woodlands, Texas

Real Estate Bisnow reporter Catie Dixon shows off this helicopter shot taken last week over Hughes Landing, the new mega-development overlooking Lake Woodlands where a whirlwind of construction is taking out a little more of those woods and putting in a whole lot more of those  . . . uh, concretes. And she’s been thoughtful enough to stick some big red numbers on it, so we can make out what’s what and where, and how it’s coming along:

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By the Numbers
03/28/14 12:15pm

Montrose Mercantile, 3321 Stanford St., Audubon Place, Montrose, Houston

Montrose Mercantile, 3321 Stanford St., Audubon Place, Montrose, HoustonThe sign has been changed and the green hues have been removed from the mansard-roofed exterior of the former First Stop Food Store at the corner of Stanford and Hawthorne in Audubon Place. That’s where the Montrose Mercantile is set to hold its grand opening this weekend — though the combo espresso bar and mini-mart at 3321 Stanford St. created by the owner of Washington Ave’s Catalina Coffee has already been open for a couple of weeks. The original Mercantile opened in the Rice Village last fall.

Photos: Montrose Mercantile

Drive Up, Sit Down
03/07/14 12:30pm

The Fresh Market, 3745 Westheimer Rd., Highland Village, HoustonThe Fresh Market grocery store that opened across Weslayan from Central Market at 3745 Westheimer Rd. last August will be shut down within a week or 2. The national chain galloped into the Houston area last year by moving into 4 former locations of Rice Epicurean. The company cited “meaningful profitability hurdles” in announcing the single-store closure, along with the closure of 3 additional locations in California. Still alive, apparently: plans to open a store at 1519 West Bay Area Blvd. in Webster this year.

Photo: John W.

Central Market Wins Again