09/18/18 9:45am

Signage is down and a closure notice is up on Blast Fitness’s now-former 3936 N. Shepherd storefront, which lies within the northern portion of the strip that Aldi plans to take over. Pictured above is that portion — just south of Garden Oaks Blvd. — where Yoga Collective and a next-door vacuum shop took off previously to make room for the grocer. Blast’s turf was on the south side of theirs, near where retail signs and parking activity pick back up on the right in the image.

For those in need of a new gym, not to worry: Blast is letting customers transfer their memberships to any location run by its affiliate brand Fitness Connection. The nearest of that chain’s 14 Houston fitness centers? Eight miles away in Greenspoint Mall.

Photos: Dan Bradley

Clearing the Way
09/17/18 9:45am

Red hyphenated signage hasn’t yet put a name to the building, but you can see all the other makings of H-E-B’s second second-story Houston grocery store from above in the video at top. The footage starts off over N. Shepherd, then pans around the corner of 23rd St., offering a view of the former Fiesta site from the south.

Back in March a spokesperson for the grocer told The Leader’s Landan Kuhlmann to expect a “late fall opening,” meaning the store’s debut could coincide roughly with the 2 year anniversary of the dry zone modification its management pushed for prior to construction.

Video: Brandon DuBois

Doubly Decked Out
09/12/18 9:30am

That’s El Rancho’s signage taking the place of Randalls’ in the photo above — which views the Keegan’s Meadow shopping center from the north along W. Bellfort. At 53,200 sq.-ft., the new Stafford store will be slightly bigger than El Rancho’s one other Houston location, opened along I-45 just inside the Beltway in June. There, all the typical grocery standards are present, along with a butcher shop, seafood counter, produce section, and bakery. Plus, there are some extras: a tortilleria and in-house Latin-American-style kitchen.

Two more El Ranchos are in the works, too: the first further up the North Fwy. on the outskirts of Spring, and the other in the old Oak Forest Randalls, gone from 34th St. since earlier this year.

Photo: Dennis Scipio

Supermarket Goes Supermercado
08/03/18 10:00am

A just-issued building permit indicates Aldi is now on its way to the north end of the Garden Oaks Shopping Center, pictured above, where it’ll occupy the spot formerly home to Yoga Collective — plus a little extra room the developer’s adding on to help it fit into the 95,046-sq.-ft. building. Before it arrives, exterior renovations will also make over the outer face of the strip.

Other comings and goings in the building just north of the North Loop: Life Savers 24-hour Emergency Room is taking over 6,300 sq.-ft., and Dollar Tree is due to relocate from its current spot in the main strip to the new freestanding building marked yellow in the site plan above.

Photo and site plan: Hartman

3938 N. Shepherd
05/15/18 4:30pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: WHO CARES HOW FAR AWAY YOU ARE FROM A DECENT GROCERY STORE? “I live downtown and use Instacart every week. Saves a ton of time. I don’t understand the fixation about going to a grocery store in person.” [Matt, commenting on Comment of the Day Runner-Up: The Hole in the Donut] Photo inside H-E-B, 1701 West Alabama St.: Candace Garcia

05/15/18 2:00pm

The signage above Fallas’ storefront — pictured above — has already come down, reports an employee of a neighboring business. Now on its way to that 25,480-sq.-ft. space in the chamfered corner of the L-shaped Northtown Plaza shopping center: Dallas supermarket El Rancho. A building permit was filed yesterday for the grocery conversion. It’s the second location that the North Texas chain has in the works for Houston; a Greenspoint location 6 miles up I-45 is planned to open in June.

But Fallas’ discount clothing presence won’t be entirely displaced by the new supermarket:

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Northtown Plaza
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
04/03/18 3:00pm

Yet another Randalls is seeing itself out of a major shopping center space — this one in the Keegan’s Meadow complex at the corner of W. Bellfort Ave. and S. Kirkwood Rd. in Stafford. The photo above looks beyond the pumps at the grocery chain’s street-fronting gas station to show the store decorated with a liquidation sign identical to the one that’s currently posted on the Oak Forest location. The white Randalls lettering on the 53,250-sq.-ft. grocery store at 11711 W. Bellfort came down last month from the façade now taken up by the banner. An in-store Wells Fargo branch occupies the northeastern portion of the store, opposite the Avalon Discount Liquor adjacent to the its west side.

Photo: Swamplox inbox. Site plan: Brixmor

Stafford Send-Off
12/06/17 12:15pm

The 4949 Convenience Store, heir to the Sunrise Grocery spot on the northeast corner of Bissonnet and Shepherd, has been demolished — this time in its entirety, and with a little less fanfare. Back in September, crowds gathered to watch ceiling-mounted wrecking balls bust up parts of the building’s interior as part of a “site specific, kinetic installation” by artist Trey Duvall.

Cherry Demolition’s more conventional performance took place yesterday, a reader tells Swamplot; the photo at top shows the lot after it was cleared out this morning. A 3-story office building with a street-level cafe is planned for the site.

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Boulevard Oaks
12/05/17 11:30am

H-E-B is making a bright red appearance in a leasing brochure for The Market at Harper’s Preserve, a proposed shopping center that would go up along the entrance to the mostly-residential Harper’s Preserve development off Highway 242, 2 miles east of I-45. The site plan at top shows the supermarket anchoring a 28-acre retail area that would occupy the northeast corner of the partly-built, 800-acre community. Also included in the image: 2 buildings marked as banks, 2 as fast food, a gym, gas station, and 5 other structures.

A spokesperson for H-E-B said, “At this time it is premature for H-E-B to comment on specific plans for this parcel of land. However, we can share that we are excited about the prospect of building a new store to serve the growing Conroe community.” The site plan below shows one neighborhood of Harper’s Preserve called East Village, as well as the location of the shopping center, labeled “Mixed Use” at the top right corner:

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East of The Woodlands
11/28/17 11:30am

The Kroger once on the corner of OST and Cambridge St. is now demolished. These photos taken by a Swamplot reader last weekend look south toward a cluster of UTHealth buildings, right past where the supermarket stood before its Halloween-era teardown.

The parking lot was left intact during the demo.

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Gone Grocery
10/31/17 11:30am

A DOUBLE-DECKER H-E-B FOR MEYERLAND PLAZA Ralph Bivins reports that grocery chain H-E-B is planning a new 100,000-sq.-ft. store on the western edge of Meyerland Plaza, near the mall-turned-big-box-collection’s JCPenney. The company announced earlier this month that it would not reopen its store at South Braeswood and Chimney Rock, which flooded after Hurricane Harvey. Stores at Meyerland Plaza, on Beechnut at 610, were damaged by flooding as well. The new structure H-E-B is planning there, Bivins says, would be 2 stories; if the configuration is similar to the company’s new Bellaire and Heights locations, that would mean the store itself would be built on the second floor, on top of a parking-only lower level. [Realty News Report; previously on Swamplot] Photo of parking lot in front of Meyerland Plaza JCPenney: Melanie H.

10/24/17 12:45pm

Not too much in the way of timelapse settings, drone footage, pulsating but string-infused soundtracks, supertitles, or accompanying sound effects appears to have been spared in the making of this video ode to the Arch-Con crane assembly now hovering over the southeast corner of Washington Ave and S. Heights Blvd. That’s the location of the planned H-E-B Market with the office space and 5-story apartment building on top of it soon to be known as the first phase of Midway’s Buffalo Heights development, on the northwest corner of the former Memorial Heights apartments.

Video: Midway Companies

Going Vertical
10/13/17 10:15am

16 months after the Fiesta Mart on site was torn down and 11 months since Heights-area voters approved a modification to longstanding local dry-zone prohibitions to allow alcohol sales for off-premises consumption, H-E-B at last appears ready to begin construction of its store at 2300 N. Shepherd. This week fencing went up around the site, which stretches between W. 23rd and W. 24th streets — and a couple of trailers have rolled onto it. An official groundbreaking is scheduled for October 24th.

The store will sit on the east side of the site but up one level, on top of a concrete parking deck. Here’s a view looking east along 23rd St. toward that part of the site and Lawrence St. beyond:

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07/19/17 5:30pm

The revised word from H-E-B on a construction start date for the 2-story store planned at N. Shepherd Dr. and 23rd St. was August 25th, as of late last month. Until then, some of that empty space is being put to use by a small bonsai tree sales operation, a reader in the neighborhood reports. And in case anyone else in the area is looking for a place to crash briefly, a small pile of mattresses has appeared near the dumpster at the back end of the lot.

The footprint of the departed Fiesta building, meanwhile, appears to have let itself go during the long period of unemployment. As of yesterday the previously cleared spot was sporting a shaggy new look, accessorized with at least one snappy yellow tag noting the city’s disapproval of the new growth: 

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Business in the Front