01/23/19 5:00pm

The last remaining Sears Appliance & Hardware store in the vicinity of Houston — and one of the last dozen or so left in the country — sits in the Mason Center at the corner of S. Mason Rd. and Kingsland Blvd. out in Katy. And it’s a goner. Management began liquidating everything inside last Thursday and has been advertising discounts on its Facebook page in the days since.

The store, shown above, and its counterparts were spun off from the parent company behind full-sized Sears stores in 2012. (Along with Sears Outlets, Sears Hometown, and Sears Home Appliance Showrooms, the hardware stores are now folded under Sears Hometown and Outlet Stores, Inc., while standard Searses answer to the recently-auctioned-off Sears Holdings Corporation.) At one time, the Appliance and Hardware stores — which carry the full line of Sears hardware and appliances, but in smaller, often less urban locations — blanketed the Houston area, with spots in The Woodlands’ Panther Creek Village Center, in First Colony Marketplace off Hwy. 6 in Sugar Land, in the Northpark Plaza shopping center in Kingwood, in the Corum Station shopping center in Spring, in the Crossroads Centre in Pasadena, in the strip building off Fuqua St. just west of I-45 by Almeda Mall, and where West Rd. meets Hwy. 6 north in northwest Houston.

Statewide, the only other remaining Appliance and Hardware store is in Huntsville, at the south end of the Sears- and Target-anchored shopping center on the southbound side of I-45.

Photo: Sears Appliance and Hardware

Another One Bites the Dust
12/06/18 12:30pm

NOW EVERY KATY BUC-EE’S BATHROOM STALL WILL HAVE A LIGHT ON IT TELLING YOU WHERE TO GO Tooshlights is the brand name of the latest amenity that the Guiness-World-Record-winning Buc-ee’s off the Katy Fwy. wants to add to its 40 bathroom stalls, reports Dan Solomon over at Texas Monthly. It’s a spin on the technology you’ve probably seen on twinkling in certain parking garages: individual LEDs that light up red when a spot is occupied and green when it’s vacant. Along with Buc-ee’s’s Temple location, the Katy store will be the first of the chains 34 branches to roll it out. [Texas Monthly; previously on Swamplot] Photo of restroom at Buc-ee’s #40, 27700 Katy Fwy., Katy, Texas: Jennifer N.

10/29/18 5:30pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: SURF’S UP, JUST OUTSIDE THE GRAND PKWY. “I was cycling out beyond Katy a few months ago and found this neighborhood called Katy Lakes. Several artificial lakes in the middle of nowhere. People put their boats on the water, etc. and I thought, you could barely drive your boat 1/2 mile before you were done. I guess it’s a great use of retention land, but it still struck me as odd.” [Purdueenginerd, commenting on Man-Made Lagoon Experts’ Second Houston Swimming Hole: 12-Acres Big, 10-Ft. Deep] Photo showing under-construction August Lakes subdivision and existing Lakes of Katy subdivision behind it: August Lakes

09/21/18 12:30pm

A nationwide franchise of about a dozen kids obstacle gyms is bringing its latest location to the new business park in Katy, on Franz Rd. about a mile inside the Grand Pkwy. Its name — USA Ninja Challenge — plays off that of the 10-seasons-old sports entertainment show American Ninja Warrior, on which contestants ages 19 and up race through a series of physical challenges before a live audience.

USA Ninja Challenge serves a younger demographic: Kids 4 to 17 are split into groups with their peers and tasked with scaling things like sloped walls, rock climbing walls, ladders, cargo nets, and peg boards — as well as balancing on slack lines and other easy-to-fall off objects. Six levels of training make up the official curriculum, each containing 27 individual skills for students to check off.

At the 22564 Franz Rd. location — the chain’s first in Texas — it’ll all go down inside the 7,000-sq.-ft. box pictured at top. It’s nestled within the triangular Franz at Elrod complex shown in the map above with north on the right. Classes start just over a month from now, on October 22.

Photo: USA Ninja Challenge. Map: LoopNet

USA Ninja Challenge
08/30/18 9:45am

Not all items at Katy’s new Daiso will be priced at 100 yen (90 cents), but they should be in the ballpark. The dollar store chain originally set a single price for all items in store when it debuted in Japan, a practice it’s carried over to some Australian locations but not the U.S.

The retailer opens its Mason Park Shopping Center doors tomorrow at 10:05 a.m. in the storefront Aaron’s furniture store left for a spot across the street after Daiso reportedly took over its lease 2 years ago. That’ll bring the Texas Daiso total to 6; the others are all near Dallas.

As for the seventh, it’s already gunning for Lonestar Dancesport’s former digs in the Westchase Shopping Center:


Turning Japanese
07/20/18 5:00pm

There’s more than enough wood to go around outside and within the 1953 single-story at 1002 East Ave., 2 blocks up from Old Katy Rd. Architect Wylie Vale — the force behind many more homes in River Oaks and Memorial — designed the place for former Katy mayor Arthur Miller and his wife Madalyn. It hit the market yesterday at an asking price of $699,900.

Inside, the front living area provides the keynote:


Former Mayor’s Pad
04/09/18 1:00pm

HOW THEY’RE AVOIDING FLOODING FAR UPSTREAM FROM DOWNTOWN HOUSTON How was developer Newland Communities able to lift the first cohort of 6,200 planned new homes out of the 100-year floodplain in Elyson, its Katy Prairie development just west of the Grand Pkwy. at FM 529? Easy: by raising the lots 1 ft. with dirt taken from other areas of the site. (An additional 12 to 15 in. of elevation came from the slab foundations on which the houses rest.) The fill allowed the company to obtain letters of map revision for more than 300 home lots in 2016 — and “to tell buyers, accurately, that their homes were not in the 100-year flood plain.” The results: “The company reported in September that Harvey had flooded streets in the development, but no water entered any of the 94 houses occupied at that time. The risk of flooding could increase, however, as more structures are built on the property.” [Houston Chronicle] Partial map of Elyson: Newland Communities