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indicates that the plans and declaration posted on its website that a Joe V’s Smart Shop is coming to the center are “outdated,” and that no grocery store is currently planned for that site.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
02/07/14 11:00am

Proposed Elan Memorial Park Apartments, 904 Westcott St., Rice Military, Houston

Architect Meeks + Partners has posted a rendering of the steel-framed apartment complex Greystar is planning to replace the Memorial Club Apartments lining the southern boundary of the Washington on Westcott roundabout. Swamplot reported Greystar’s plans for the apartments last year — along with a tip that the planned redevelopment would include a new Trader Joe’s. The rendering shows no sign of a Trader Joe’s, but it does show the base of the apartment structure filled with retail spaces and outdoor dining areas facing the roundabout. The view appears to be taken southeast from the roundabout; the existing stone Rice Military placard is in the foreground.

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Elan Memorial Park
01/10/14 10:15am

First Stop Food Mart, 3321 Stanford St., Audubon Place, Houston

A northern branch of Mercantile, the combo espresso bar and mini-mart that opened a few months ago in the Rice Village, will be opening up in the vacant First Stop Food Store spot shown above at the corner of Stanford St. and Hawthorne in Audubon Place, its owner confirmed this week. Mercantile could be described as the upscale version of Washington Ave’s Catalina Coffee (they’re run by the same owner). And that’s exactly what Houstonia‘s Katharine Shilcutt felt free to do: “Catalina Coffee is the brooding, sensitive, bookish older sister, while Mercantile is the peppy younger sister who wears Ralph Lauren and daydreams about horses and joins a sorority in college yet is no less intelligent or passionate than her sibling.” The perky youngster also carries more baked goods, groceries, and gift items on her dainty shelves.

Photo of First Stop Food Mart at 3321 Stanford St.: Swamplot inbox

Groceries in Small Packages
12/12/13 12:15pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: SAFEWAY’S PLANS FOR A LEANER RANDALLS OPERATION Randalls Slims Down“I’m not buying the ‘pulling out of Houston’ claim. Other chains are debasing themselves to get into the Houston/DFW/Austin markets. Why would an incumbent, distressed or not, just completely pull out? Doesn’t pass logical test, IMO. Reducing cost by eliminating regional management and failing to renew a lease aren’t the same thing as a wholesale abandonment of Houston.” [Tom Opposable Thumb, commenting on Yet Another Sign of a Coming Randalls Houston Pullout] Illustration: Lulu

11/25/13 11:30am

THE END IN SIGHT FOR RANDALLS Randalls Grocery Store, 11041 Westheimer Rd., Westchase Shopping Center, Westchase, HoustonThe Randalls grocery store on the southeast corner of Westheimer and Wilcrest is a goner, reports Catie Dixon. And she tags the chain itself as the likely next casualty in the region’s ongoing grocery wars. Landlord Weingarten Realty, which also manages the Whole Foods Market across the street, sent out notice earlier this month that the space occupied by the former top-performing Randalls in the Westchase Shopping Center is now available for lease. But other new grocery stores are coming to the area: another 60 in the next 18 months, keeping up the recent pace, says broker Jason Baker — who also notes Trader Joe’s is experiencing “challenges” with its new store on S. Voss near Woodway. [Real Estate Bisnow; previously on Swamplot] Photo of Randalls at 11041 Westheimer Rd.: Weingarten Realty

11/07/13 11:27am

Woodlands organic shoppers: Do not let the parking garage that appears to be enveloping the new Whole Foods Market in this rendering scare you off. The press release announcing the grocery chain’s first Woodlands store declares there’ll be “ample surface parking” adjacent to the market. Whew! Construction will start on the 40,000-sq.-ft. store soon, the Woodlands Development Company announced this morning. It’ll be part of Hughes Landing, the new 66-acre office, hotel, retail, and apartment complex going in on the northeast bank of Lake Woodlands. The store will be near the intersection of Lake Front Circle and Lake Woodlands Dr., with the main entrance shown above coming off Lake Front. That likely places it in the spot marked “Grocery” in this rotated plan of the development’s southern half:

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10/21/13 11:10am

These elevations show the Kroger Marketplace that’s under construction inside the Towne Lake master-planned community in Northwest Houston. The new 120,000-sq.-ft. grocery store, which will sell home goods, jewelry, and clothes, too, will be located in the so-called “commons area” of Towne Lake at the intersection of Barker Cypress and Tuckerton. Says Fred Caldwell, the developer of Towne Lake, about the new store: “[It] will have an architectural design similar to a Texas Hill Country look. It will be a lot different than the traditional grocery store people see.”

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10/15/13 1:15pm

Here’s a pic of the foliage and signage of the closed Wel-Farm Supermarket in Sugar Land — which, a reader reports, will soon have its hyphen removed and hyperbole reduced when it opens later this fall as the Welfresh Market. The grocery store, specializing in Asian produce, is located inside the shopping center near Dulles Ave. at 4635 Hwy. 6.

Photo: Swamplot inbox

09/04/13 4:30pm

Here’s a look at Houston’s next Trader Joe’s, set to open in Cinco Ranch sometime next year. It’ll be at 2643 Commercial Center Blvd., right in the center of all that commerce just west of the Grand Pkwy. This new 12,500-sq.-ft. store will be the 4th in the area. The last to open was the one on San Felipe and Voss in January, across the street from the Randall’s that has since been torn down to make way for a new Whole Foods.

Rendering: Trader Joe’s

08/29/13 11:00am

Even more action in the Old Sixth Ward: A reader sends this photo of the former Bayou City Market on the corner of Henderson and Kane, which appears to have been chosen as the future location of Bun Penny Food & Wine. The reader says that the neighborhood corner store has been closed for a few years. It’s just a few blocks south of the proposed location of that new office building fronting Washington Ave.

Photo: Swamplot inbox