RIVER OAKS BAPTIST SCHOOL BRINGS WAYWARD WESTHEIMER WALGREENS INTO THE FOLD A long-contemplated drugstore-to-Baptist-School handover finally took place last month. Back in January, Swamplot reported that the River Oaks Baptist School was in the process of buying the Walgreens at 3900 Westheimer Rd., in order to fit a “possible parking garage and secondary exit onto Westheimer” onto the 1.8-acre site. In announcing the transaction, however, the school hasn’t said precisely what it will do with its new digs — or when or whether the now-vacant drugstore building will be demolished. It is, however, developing a new master plan for the campus. The Walgreens relocated into the former Fresh Market across the street and on the other side of Weslayan — at 3745 Westheimer — in March. Photo: Swamplot inbox
CUPCAKE ATM IS REALLY COMING TO HIGHLAND VILLAGE THIS TIME, SPRINKLES PROMISES If news that Sprinkles plans to bring a Cupcake ATM to Houston sounds familiar, that’s because it is. Today’s announcement marks the third time in 3 years that the California chain has declared that its lone Houston location — in Highland Village, snuggled up next to the Apple Store — would soon have one of the company’s signature baked-goods vending machines installed for all-hours use. Houston was to receive the second-ever such machine, after the Beverly Hills pilot (pictured here), in the summer of 2012. A second announcement the following year earmarked Houston for the fourth-ever Cupcake ATM that October (by then Chicago and Dallas stores had received theirs), after a holdup caused by “design issues.” Now Sprinkles is promising Houston the ninth Cupcake ATM in the country, opening this June 11th. It’ll be installed on the back side of the building at 4014 Westheimer, facing the parking lot. Inside, Sprinkles will be expanding its offerings to include cookies, ice cream, and attendant shakes, malts, and floats. Frequent Highland Village shopping center cupcakers will want to mark May 12 through 19th on their calendars — though perhaps only in pencil. That’s when the store is scheduled to be shut down for the installation of dipping cabinets along the back counter and cookie trays in its cupcake display area, as well as the exterior vending station. [Sprinkles Houston] Photo: Sprinkles
The folks at BuzzBuzzHome pass on this hot-off-the-email rendering of the 34-story condo tower Randall Davis is planning for a piece of the former Westcreek Apartments site along San Felipe just inside the West Loop. Dubbed the Arábella, the 116-unit building is meant to sit at 4521 San Felipe St., directly across the street from Ashley Furniture. The proposed highrise’s immediate neighbors — including Target and the almost-complete 25-story SkyHouse River Oaks apartment tower immediately in back of the property — are artfully represented in the rendering by a small forest.
Rendering: Randall Davis Company/Argali Partners
Highland Village Highrise
A LIST OF 17 FASHIONABLE HOUSTON NEWCOMERS HEADED FOR RIVER OAKS THIS YEAR WHO’LL END UP ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE TRACKS John Lobb, Akris, Kiton, Moncler, De Boulle, Giuseppe Zanotti, Etro, Chopard, Canali, Brunello Cucinelli, Brioni, Diptyque, Bonobos, Intermix. Haven’t heard of ’em? Well, how about Tom Ford, Roberto Cavalli, and Dolce & Gabbana? They’re all luxury retailers who are new to Houston, and who’ll be arriving here about the same time that OliverMcMillan’s long-awaited (but not-so-accurately named) River Oaks District opens up on Westheimer between the Galleria and the Highland Village Shopping Center — only a mile away from the actual neighborhood called River Oaks — sometime this spring. [Real Estate Bisnow; previously on Swamplot] Photo of River Oaks District under construction: OliverMcMillan
Residents of the Georgian Apartments in Highland Village are still up in the air about a possible sale of the 1965 courtyard complex, which sits just behind the Cadence Bank building at the corner of Westheimer and Weslayan. Last July, the River Oaks Management Company sent residents of the apartment for the over-55 set a notice indicating that an agreement to sell the 3.4-acre property had been reached and that the closing date would be in December. Residents heard rumors of a 40-story highrise planned for the site. Then in mid-December, according to a source, word came that the sale was off and that no other buyer had expressed interest.
But shortly after Christmas came another twist: the unidentified prospective purchaser has been granted an extension. “Closing would likely occur in early spring if the purchaser is satisfied with their final evaluations and decides to go forward with the purchase,” reads the latest note sent to residents.
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SORRY, NO MATTRESS STORE CAN SNEAK INTO HIGHLAND VILLAGE WITHOUT SOMEBODY NOTICING Here’s a piece of hot retail news the likes of which has not been encountered since . . . well, since Swamplot broke the story that the Walgreens near the corner of Westheimer and Weslayan will be moving across both streets to the former Fresh Market spot: A reader has ID’d a new neighbor moving into the former Rice Epicurean shopping center, next to said future Walgreens. It’ll be . . . wait for it . . . a Mattress Firm going into the 3743 Westheimer Rd. address, as evidenced by the familiar red sign now glowing brightly above the future front door shown above. Intriguing bonus tip, for all you Highland Village area store-opening watchers to chew over: “There were two vacant spots in the center when Fresh Market was there and it looks like the other one is leased as there’s a sign in the window for construction but does not identify who is moving in.” Photo: Swamplot inbox
Sources tell Swamplot that the River Oaks Baptist School is buying the building occupied by Walgreens at 3900 Westheimer Rd., at the southern end of the school’s campus on Willowick Rd. The school will reportedly use the 1.8-acre property vacated by the drug-store chain (and pictured above) for a “possible parking garage and secondary exit onto Westheimer.”
Walgreens won’t be leaving the Highland Village area, however. Workers are already transforming the former Fresh Market grocery store at 3745 Westheimer Rd. (pictured below) into a new Walgreens. It’s currently scheduled to open in March:
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Rice Epicurean to Fresh Market to Walgreens
Pictured above on a grassy field standing in for its potential newer neighbors is the 17-story, Kirksey-designed highrise condo building Pelican Builders is planning for a 1.5-acre lot it bought from the site of the former Westcreek Apartments. It’ll go up near the taller SkyHouse River Oaks now under construction on another section of Westcreek Ln. just south of San Felipe (viewed at left from the adjacent Target parking lot). Nancy Sarnoff reports that financing for Pelican’s project hasn’t been finalized, but the company says it plans to begin constructing the project next summer, whether or not it pre-sells any units. It’ll take 2 years to build.
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REPORTS: BOCONCEPT ON WESTHEIMER WILL BE CLOSING DOWN SOON Multiple sources tell Swamplot that the 13,525-sq.-ft. lot at the northwest corner of Westheimer Rd. and Mid Ln. that’s currently home to the BoConcept furniture store is in the process of being sold, and that the store will shut down in a few weeks. The 9,513-sq.-ft. building at 4302 Westheimer Rd., just west of the Highland Village Shopping Center, was built in 2003 as Surprises. Photo: BoConcept
A RANDALL DAVIS-FLAVORED HIGHRISE FOR THE EAST SIDE OF THE WEST LOOP Themed-residence developer Randall Davis is planning another Galleria-area condo project, and it looks like this one won’t have to share space with any fast-food drive-thrus — unless, of course, he wants it to. The HBJ‘s Paul Takahashi is reporting that Davis plans to construct an 85-to-100-unit highrise on a 1.8-acre site at 2021 Westcreek Ln., until recently occupied by a portion of the Westcreek Apartments. (It’s labeled Parcel D in the view at left.) Davis’s block is immediately north of the SkyHouse River Oaks, which is already under construction. It fronts San Felipe, across from Ashley Furniture, and its eastern flank abuts the Target parking lot. If Davis still wants some sort of fast-food spot to land next to his so-far-unnamed project, though, he could certainly make it happen: Takahashi reports he’ll be building on a little less than half of the site, and selling off 45,000 sq. ft. of it to developers. [Houston Business Journal; previously on Swamplot] Image: CBRE
The Dream’s & Bros. Hand Car Wash at the corner of San Felipe and Bancroft just east of the Target parking lot has shut down, a bunch of readers have reported to Swamplot. The car wash was founded by Afis Olajwon, brother of former Rockets center Hakeem Olajuwon (and himself a former guard for the UTSA Roadrunners), in 1998. On Friday, a large piece of demo equipment was hanging around in the parking lot behind a new chain-link fence surrounding the property at 4303 San Felipe St. Earlier in the week, the basketball-themed signage was removed.
Photo: Ray Hankamer
To That Great Car Wash in the Sky
From reader David Hollas come these pics showing portions of the 2 apartment complexes Martin Fein Interests is building at the southeast corner of West Alabama and Las Palmas Dr., 2 blocks south of the Highland Village Shopping Center. The building at left, stretching its wings to get ready for its facade finale, is the 325-unit Aria at Willowick Park. Facing off across the central ellipse will be the slightly more Modern-looking Olympia, which will include 189 units, but they’ll be larger:
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Highland Village Apartments
One of the contemporary townhomes with courtyards in a 7-property subdivision dubbed West Lane Place was under contract last month but returned to the market a week ago with an asking price of $575,000 — $10K higher than the previous listing. The listing identifies the townhome’s designers as some form of the firm once known as Wilson, Morris, Crain, and Anderson — also known as the architects of the Astrodome. Courtyards, it says, are by landscape firm McDugald-Steele. The 1982 property is tucked between Afton Oaks and the railroad right-of-way east of Newcastle.
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The 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