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
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