09/23/13 9:45am

So much for total environmental control, huh? The Foley’s, then Macy’s, at 1110 Main St. is no more, succumbing to a helluva lot of dynamite early Sunday morning. Completed in 1947 and designed by Kenneth Franzheim, the 10-story, 791,000-sq.-ft. building was the last department store Downtown. It’s still not clear what will be going up once the retail rubble is cleared from this block bound by Main, Travis, Dallas, and Lamar, though an employee at Hilcorp — which is connected to 1110 Main Partners, the entity that owns the property — has told Swamplot it’ll be “a regular looking office building tower over 20 stories high.”

But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. Why not revel, for a moment, in the glorious dust?

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09/20/13 2:00pm

WHAT TIME THE EXPLOSIONS DOWNTOWN WILL WAKE YOU UP A rep from Metro confirms that the booms of the controlled demolition of the former Foley’s at 1110 Main St. will begin booming between 7:10 and 7:20 this Sunday, September 22. (That’s 10 minutes past sunrise, for all you morning people.) And if you’ll be driving Downtown to find parking and get yourself in implosion position, note that the street closures that Swamplot reported yesterday will begin at 6 a.m. [Metro; previously on Swamplot] Photo of Foley’s: Jim Parsons

09/19/13 2:30pm

Note: Story updated below. And read more here.

Here’s a map from the city showing which streets will be closed Downtown this Sunday morning for the controlled demolition of the 10-story, 791,000-sq.-ft. former Foley’s and Macy’s. Unfortunately, the closures appear to hinder access to the best views of the falling 1947 Kenneth Franzheim-designed shopping box. In fact, the Houston Chronicle cites a fire department press release that might frustrate any interested parties: “[T]here will be no ‘safe viewing site lines’ to observe the implosion.”

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09/06/13 10:00am

Remember that unusable and really vague tip sent to Swamplot back in January? The one promising that a “major (non-residential) Houston property is about to make a significant change”? And it wasn’t Macy’s? Well, the in-the-know tipster now reports, we can let that cat out of the bag, since the Houston Business Journal and Houston Chronicle already have: The “Houston landmark” the tipster couldn’t tip us off about is the Galleria — which, it was announced yesterday by developer Simon Property Group, will be undergoing extensive renovations and partial demolition to create about 100,000 new sq. ft. of retail and restaurant space.

The plan calls for the Galleria III portion where Saks Fifth Avenue is currently located to be demolished — though the tipster says the Philip Johnson façade will be maintained — to make room for a bumped-out food court (shown in the rendering above). That freed-up Saks space will provide room for 35 new retailers and restaurants. Meanwhile, Saks will be moving into the Macy’s spot on Sage, and that Macy’s will be merging with the other Macy’s on Hidalgo. (Makes sense.) Also, a standalone box will be built in the parking lot for a few tenants who can afford to be more conspicuous to the stop-and-go crowd on Westheimer.

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08/15/13 4:00pm

Mark your calendars! The implosion of the big brick box that used to shelter Macy’s and Foley’s has been scheduled bright and early: It’ll go down at 6:10 a.m. Sunday, September 22. The Kenneth Franzheim-designed department store at 1110 Main St. has already suffered some selective chunkage, and it looks like serial crusher Cherry Demolition will be in charge of setting off the final charges.

Though Cherry is pretty experienced with this sort of thing, the building’s proximity to the light rail line seems to have spurred Metro into some serious contingency planning: Internal documents show that Metro has set up alternative service for anywhere from 2 days to 3 weeks in case something goes wrong.

Here’s the plan: The trains will stop running on the evening of Friday, September 20, to give Metro plenty of time to remove poles, wires, brackets, supports, etc. A contractor has been hired to “Utilize Containers,” says those documents, and build a wall around the water spouts and decorations at the Main Street Square station catty-corner from the building. Meanwhile, Metro will be double-checking its insurance policy.

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07/11/13 3:30pm

Though we still don’t know exactly what’s replacing it, the Macy’s on Main is now well on its way to becoming nothing. The Downtown block where the Kenneth Franzheim brick box stands is bound by Main, Dallas, Travis, and Lamar. That’s now owned by 1110 Main Partners, an entity connected to Hilcorp; a source there told Swamplot about a month ago that Hilcorp employees had been shown a rendering of a “a regular looking office building tower over 20 stories high” to be built here, but that rendering hasn’t surfaced — so far. This photo shows part of the former Foley’s overhang as though bitten into by a wide-mouth excavator. And a few more shots of the demolition:

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06/10/13 12:00pm

A source at Hilcorp says that the company has revealed what it’s planning to build in place of the soon-to-be-demolished Downtown Macy’s, vacant since closing in early March: And will the new HQ look anything like that mostly glass box from Munoz + Albin that appeared online a few months ago?

“Nope, nothing like it,” says the source. It’ll be “a regular looking office building tower over 20 stories high.” Though it doesn’t appear to take up the whole block: “I’m assuming there are going to be purdy trees and green stuff around it.” Employees were shown a rendering of the tower at a recent meeting, says the source, but it was quickly removed from the company’s online newsletter: “I guess because they didn’t want it out there.”

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03/11/13 4:00pm

A FEW LAST LOOKS AT MACY’S And that’s it. After 66 years, there’s no more shopping to be done. Macy’s is closed. Swamplot photographer Candace Garcia finds a perch Downtown from which to take this farewell photo of Kenneth Franzheim’s former Foley’s — and Hair Balls’ Abraham Garza goes inside for a few last looks of the liquidation as the business hours dwindled on Saturday to zero. Garza says: “The only items I saw for sale, other than fixtures and empty jewelry cases were mink coats.” [Hair Balls; previously on Swamplot] Photo: Candace Garcia

03/05/13 11:00am

MACY’S DOWNTOWN: WHILE SUPPLIES LAST! A Macy’s spokesperson tells Nancy Sarnoff that after 66 years on Main St. the department store will be locking up for good “probably Saturday.” As Kenneth Franzheim’s former Foley’s awaits an expected demolition, Sarnoff reports a rather unglamorous retail experience inside: “Only two floors in the 10-story building were open Monday. The first housed the store’s remaining merchandise. It included everything from dishes to fur coats, but the pickings were slim. . . . The second level had furniture and fixtures. Everything was for sale, including lighted display cabinets, mannequins and cardboard boxes for holding small pieces of jewelry.” [Prime Property; previously on Swamplot] Photo: Jim Parsons

01/04/13 3:00pm

Yesterday morning, Macy’s announced that it would be closing its store Downtown at 1110 Main this spring. But what’s going to happen to the building? Mayor Parker, who knows a thing or two about demolition, said yesterday afternoon that Kenneth Franzheim’s former Foley’s is coming down: “Macy’s is losing the lease, and the owner of that piece of property wants to build something else,” she told KUHF News. The owner in this case would be 1110 Main Partners, an entity connected to Hilcorp Ventures, whose president, Doug Kelly, told the Houston Chronicle yesterday that the company has “no specific plans to announce” about the site. Well, announcing plans is one thing:

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01/03/13 9:06am

Did you know Macy’s had a store Downtown? Well, not for much longer. Macy’s announced this morning that its 1110 Main St. location will be shuttered this spring. Clearance sales will start January 7 and continue for up to 11 weeks. The store debuted in 1947 as the Foley’s flagship (at right) in a 791,000-sq.-ft. Kenneth Franzheim building. The company will close 5 Macy’s and one Bloomingdale’s in other cities as well.

Photos: jaraylee182004 (Macy’s), Jim Parsons (Foley’s)