03/03/15 4:00pm



While not flashy, tweaks have tidied a 1952 rancher in Oak Forest’s section across from the White Oak Bayou Trail near T.C. Jester Park. Its listing a week ago attached am $450K asking price, up a bit from the $186K paid in 2006, when the property last changed hands. Its perky, red-painted planter full, the property is extra buffed for an open house on Sunday afternoon.


Ranch Dressing
02/18/15 1:00pm

Proposed Oaks on Shepherd Shopping Center, 4000 N. Shepherd Dr., Independence Heights, Houston

Proposed Oaks on Shepherd Shopping Center, 4000 N. Shepherd Dr., Independence Heights, Houston

Update, 2/19: Weingarten says the brochure was a “vision book” that was released to the public in error.

“The time is right for redevelopment” of the Sears at 4000 N. Shepherd Dr., declares a brochure published online earlier this week by Weingarten Realty. The brochure, which appears to be part of a proposal to Sears, which owns the 11.7-acre western portion of the site, says the REIT plans to partner with the retailer to turn the sleepy department store and the Pine Forest Business Park directly to its east into a “wonderfully connected and designed retail shopping destination for Garden Oaks, Oak Forest and neighborhoods around it,” including a new grocery store and restaurants.

No site plan is included in the presentation, but Weingarten notes that it plans to keep “the 2nd longest operating Houston Sears” open in some form throughout the redevelopment. “Weingarten’s vision is to acquire adjacent land,” then “temporarily relocate Sears into an existing building” — the Family Bingo Center at 641 W. Crosstimbers — before scraping and redoing the whole site.


Oaks on Shepherd
01/06/15 4:45pm



Three years ago, this 2011 custom Oak Forest home with porch and pool sold for $460,000. Now? A listing over the weekend of the Craftsman-with-stuck-on-stone property carries a $750,000 price tag. That’s where price reductions from a previous listing by the same agent had landed after an initial ask of $799,500 in November 2014 and pre-holiday drop to $775,000. If the back yard’s oasis doesn’t provide enough of an escape, Oak Forest Park is a (very long) block up the street, which is located east of Rosslyn Rd.


Cabana Club
10/24/14 1:30pm

OAK FOREST BERRYHILL STILL ON ITS WAY Berryhill Baja Grill Under Construction at 43rd St. and Ella Blvd., Oak Forest, HoustonIn the course of providing an overview of Houston’s commercial permitting process likely to open further the eyes of any wide-eyed I-wanna-open-a-restaurant newbie, Betsy Denson provides a quick sorta-update on the current status of the long-delayed Berryhill Baja Grill on the site of a former gas station at 1201 W. 43rd St., even though franchise owner Park Blair isn’t commenting publicly: “Some conjecture that it was an encroachment issue or something similarly major that has caused the delay at Berryhill on Ella. The restaurant applied for a building permit in 2011 and construction has been sporadic for the last two years. Their last approval for a restaurant addition was in February of 2014 and from the looks of things, they will open in the near future.” [The Leader] Photo: Betsy Denson

06/19/14 10:45am

Future Home of Allen's Landing Brewing Company, 3540 Oak Forest Dr., Oak Forest, Houston

Does beer taste better in glass or metal containers? The draught beers of a new craft brewery will soon be bubbling in yet another cleaned-up metal structure in Houston — this one the former Fredrick’s Auto Repair in the southern edge of Oak Forest. 3540 Oak Forest Dr. will soon be home to the brand-new Allen’s Landing Brewing Company, the company announced on its Facebook page.

Photo: Allen’s Landing Brewing Co.

Opens in Front
03/31/14 10:30am

White Oak Bayou Hike and Bike Trail Along T.C. Jester at 610 Loop, Oak Forest, Houston

Here’s the news that’s “all the rage in Oak Forest,” according to a reader: TxDOT has reopened the segment of the hike-and-bike trail along White Oak Bayou that wends its way between between Ella Blvd. and 34th St. That stretch of asphalt had been closed in December 2011 for construction on the North Loop overpass at T.C. Jester. TxDOT is planning an official celebration of the reopening this coming Saturday, but it’s unclear whether the path, which lines the east side of the bayou, will have to be closed again at some point. “Please note that TxDOT has not completed the reconstruction of the bridges that support the feeder roads across the bayou,” reads a note on the Houston Bikeways Program Facebook page posted this morning. “We hope to get more details shortly.”

Photo of trail at E. T.C. Jester and Loop 610 North: Jim Mackey/White Oak Bayou Association

610 Underpass
01/14/14 3:15pm



When everyone gravitates to the kitchen (top) of this overhauled 1953 ranch-style home on Hewitt Dr. near T.C. Jester, there might actually be room for them. The opened-up prep space is just off the combo living-dining room, and there’s room for grilling out back, too. The listing appeared on the market last week with a $369,000 asking price. A 2012 attempt to sell the property — for $70K less — didn’t pan out. The home was renovated in 2011; the current owners purchased it in 2010 for $145,000. Welcome to Oak Forest!


Mid-sized Micro
01/13/14 10:45am

Suchu Dance, 3480 Ella Blvd., Ella Plaza Shopping Center, Oak Forest, Houston

The 1,500-sq.-ft. space deep in the crotch of the Ella Plaza Shopping Center just south of the railroad tracks at 3480 Ella Blvd. is the new home of modern dance troupe Suchu Dance. It’s also the former longtime Houston haunt of Patsy Swayze‘s Houston JazzBallet Company and the Swayze School of Dance. Long before the dance teacher made it big with her choreography for Urban Cowboy in 1980 and decamped to Hollywood, Swayze taught hundreds of gyrating Houstonians — including her 5 children, in the strip center corner. Her son Buddy, who as Patrick Swayze went on to star in Dirty Dancing and Ghost, started barging in on classes there at the age of 3, long before playing football at Waltrip High School across the street; he met his wife, Lisa Niemi, in the strip-center studio as well. He died from pancreatic cancer in 2009; his mother passed away in California’s Simi Valley last September.


Somebody Put Baby in a Strip Center Corner
01/08/14 11:45am

WHERE’S THAT OAK FOREST RETAIL RENAISSANCE? The Shops at Oak Forest, 43rd St. and Ella, Oak Forest, HoustonIt’s not at all surprising to the Houston Press‘s Abby Koenig that her neighborhood, Oak Forest, walked away with the Least Recognizable Neighborhood title in this year’s Swamplot Awards. But she wonders when the area’s retail and commerce will catch up to its residential transformation: “There’s still nothing here! I am exaggerating; over the past four years a few new places have popped up: Cottonwood, Shepherd Park and Pink’s Pizza have opened up over on Shepherd, hidden away on Wakefield is Petrol and Wakefield CrowBar, in the shopping center on Ella we’ve still got our Kroger with some chain additions like a European Wax Center (thanks?) and an Edible Arrangements (thanks again?) and there is the much-praised Plonk bar and restaurant. But other than a select few, there’s not a whole lot to do in Oak Forest. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want the neighborhood to turn into another Washington Ave, but the hottest news item on the Oak Forest Facebook page over the past three months has been over the rumor that Berryhill is coming; that’s how bored we are: ‘not bad Mexican’ is the most exciting thing we’ve got going on.” [Art Attack; previously on Swamplot] Photo of Shops at Oak Forest: Transwestern Retail

11/14/13 3:00pm

In Oak Forest, there’s a forest of knotty pine (top) and other hardwoods inside a 1953 home located east of Donna Bell Ln. north of W. 43rd St. But is it doomed? An “as-is” listing of the property posted Tuesday (price tag: $284,900) mentions all the remodeling and new construction going on throughout the midcentury neighborhood. Some original flourishes and finishes remain inside this pinewood derby of a home, though.