10/30/18 3:15pm

Add 6 more locations to the list of Mattress Firm stores the company has decided to close as part of its recent Chapter 11 filing. They are: across Hwy. 6 from the Missouri City H-E-B off Sienna Pkwy., at Baybrook Square across from Baybrook Mall (already home to Mattress Firm Final Markdown that’s sticking around for now), in the Oak Ridge North Shopping Center across I-45 from The Woodlands Mall, off 290 north of Spring-Cypress Rd., and in the Portofino Shopping Center off I-45 in Shenandoah. There’s also one closing within Houston proper: the 5409 S. Rice Ave. store, which fronts  the Walmart off 59. The map above shows all the closures — including standard locations (red), Final Markdowns (orange), and Clearance centers (yellow) — the chain has announced so far.

King-Sized Retreat
10/30/18 1:15pm

It’s not just the Shepherd Square flagship store that’s biting the dust: Locations in the eponymous New Territory Randalls Center (pictured at top) off the Grand Pkwy. and in the Windvale Center (pictured above) on the northern edge of The Woodlands at College Park Dr. and FM 1488 are goners, too. All 3 stores will shut down around December 1, a spokeswoman tells Swamplot.

At the Windvale Center, the closure will leave behind a nearly 57,000-sq.-ft. hole in the middle of the property, mapped out in this old leasing flyer:

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Flagship and Friends
10/30/18 11:45am

RANDALLS READY TO SLIP OUT OF SHEPHERD SQUARE A spokeswoman for the grocer tells the Chronicle’s Nancy Sarnoff this morning that the Shepherd Square Randalls Flagship store will be closing, but doesn’t say when. It’s been at Shepherd and Westheimer for about the past 2 decades, back before the brand got bought in 1999 by national chain Safeway — which itself was acquired by Albertsons in 2015. The 128,000-sq.-ft. shopping center housing the store went up in 1989. (It’s shown above before Randalls’ signage was flipped, elevating the “Flagship” branding to a spot above the retailer’s own name.) Over the past year, several Houston-area Randalls have already shut down: at the Coles Crossing shopping center in Cypress, on 34th St. in Oak Forest, and on W. Bellfort in Stafford. [Houston Chronicle; previously on Swamplot] Photo: Denise W.

10/29/18 10:30am

Here’s what the restaurant just west of the Meyer Park Shopping Center looks like in its afterlife. Signage came down the same day that the store closed, last Wednesday. It’s now listed for lease by the franchisee that owns the land at 4904 W. Bellfort as well as that beneath about 70 other Taco Bells, KFCs, and Pizza Huts in and around Houston: KorMex Foods.

KorMex grabbed this location along with 15 other existing stores when it went into business in 2000. By then, the building itself had been around for 7 years.

Photo: Jason Karwacki

W. Bellfort and S. Post Oak
10/23/18 5:15pm

Go ahead, name a few of Houston’s most heavily-Instagrammed hotspots. The Waterwall, North and South boulevards, maybe the “We Love Houston” sign that — until recently — sat along I-10. But who ever wanted to go pose next to the Katy Fwy. just to pick up a few new followers? If only there was a location where the photogenic offerings sat under a roof — preferably in one of those hip Houston retail-and-restaurant strips where the food might merit a few pics as well.

Enter Flower Vault, the budding brick-and-mortar Instagram destination shown at top that’s taken over half of Joybird Furniture‘s storefront at 1735 Westheimer, 2 blocks west of Dunlavy. For $20 per person (and $10 per pet), you can spend an hour taking pictures inside the studio’s blossoming interior spaces. The admissions fee won’t preclude other patrons from visiting at the same time, so you may have to take turns in front of the backdrops. But check out the results so far; it appears everyone’s been happy to share.

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Not Your Father’s Florist
10/23/18 2:30pm

  

Following “four or five 3-month lease extensions,” the landlord of 2318 Waugh Dr. dropped by Corazon last Friday to give the business its 30-days notice, reports store owner Chris Murphy. Its exit date is now set for November 20, a Tuesday, so final sales will take place the weekend before. Murphy says he’d been working to track down a new location for the store since learning it’d have to leave more than a year ago — but hasn’t had any luck. Barring any last-minute workable option, “we’ll reluctantly have to liquidate fixtures and retreat to various online platforms,” he says, in order to keep dealing guayaberas, Luca Libre masks, and other imports like the store has been doing since 1998. It’s shown around that year in the across-the-street photo above, which also gives a view of the landmark red dot on the building’s south side. (The taller building behind it occupies the same piece of land but was torn down in 2016.)

Next up for the 6,250-sq.-ft. parcel: a trio of townhomes. The landowner’s plan, says Murphy, “is to demolish the building immediately once we vacate,” and plant the new residences in a line like this along Fairview St.:

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Towhomes Imminent
10/22/18 5:30pm

Renovations to turn the former Parsley Studios building at 1504 Yale St. into Blue Line Bike Lab‘s new Heights location are now nearly finished, and the most dramatic change is the new coat of light blue paint the structure’s 15th-St. side, pictured above. During the 75 years it housed the family photo business and functioned as a portrait studio for mayors and celebrities like Roy Rogers and Loretta Lynn — according to The Leader — the building underwent its fair share of paint jobs; the last big one washed out a checkerboard pattern along its Yale-St. side, leaving the structure mostly brown.

Last September, a liquidation sale emptied the place of “a quarter of a century’s worth of photo equipment, furniture, frames and photos,reported the Chronicle‘s Jaimy Jones. By that time, most of the owners’ work focused on photo restoration, so brick-and-mortar amenities like formal seating — “and even a small dressing room with bright, round bulbs that frame a mirror atop an old-fashioned dressing table,” wrote Jones — were no longer necessary. The building sold to a group that’s linked to Blue Line, which has its nearest shop on the corner of White Oak Dr. and Columbia St. That existing location (which predates the shop’s other spot on Telephone Rd.) is now set to close, but not until a fleet of new bikes arrives the Yale St. building.

It’s shown empty in the photo below, although a newly-hung sign along Yale makes clear what will fill it:

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1504 Yale St.
10/22/18 2:45pm

A SATURDAY NIGHT SWAN SONG AT SPRUCE GOOSE: SOCIAL FLYERS CLUB This past weekend was the last one ever for the concert venue known as Spruce Goose: Social Flyers Club on the second floor of 809 Congress, across from Market Square Park and directly above Henke and Pillot. The 100- to 300-person club only opened up earlier this year, but managed to stay booked through the summer and all the way up until its finale on Saturday, which featured — among others — self-described “Punkish?” band Branagan, shown sending things off in the photo above. [Spruce Goose: Social Flyers Club] Photo: Branagan

10/16/18 4:00pm

A former employee of the chain says that September 30 was the staff’s last day at the restaurant in the Marq’E Entertainment Center, where its double-decker patio — pictured above — faces off from the Edwards Cinema movie theater (and its vertical water feature faces off from the shopping center’s plaza fountain).

All other Cafe Adobe locations have closed down as well; most recently, the one in terminal B of Bush Airport and the one across Hwy. 6 from Sugar Land‘s Market at Town Center shopping center — which featured this dramatic main entrance:

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Adobe a Goner
10/16/18 11:15am

CHASE BANK CLOSING IN THE TOWER THAT BEARS ITS NAME December 13 is the last business day at Chase’s Chase Tower branch. The bank — which a portion of the lobby shown beyond Joan Miró’s Personage and Birds sculpture in the photo above — is following in the footsteps of the upstairs Chase employees who left in 2006 when the corporation moved its offices out of the building and lost the naming rights to it, reports the Chronicle’s John C. Roper. The nearest branch: in the former Gulf Building at 712 Main St., on the block catty-corner southeast of the Chase Tower. [Houston Chronicle; previously on Swamplot] Photo: 42 Floors

10/08/18 12:15pm

Twelve standard Mattress Firm locations (red) are going out of business, as well as 4 Final Markdowns (orange) and one Clearance-branded location (yellow). That’s 17 closures altogether, 2 shy of the number Mattress Firm announced would shutter across the rest of Texas when it filed for bankruptcy last week.

They are . . . on Westheimer near Hillcroft Ave., on I-10 in the Village Plaza at Bunker Hill shopping center, in Westgate Marketplace retail center off I-10 along N. Fry Rd., next-door to the other Mattress Firm in the Westmont Shopping Center at Westheimer and Montrose Blvd., on the W. Loop S. feeder road between Westheimer and Richmond, across Tomball Pkwy. from Willowbrook Mall, on Hwy. 6 north of Bissonnet, across from Baybrook Mall in Webster, in the Riverstone Shopping Center on Hwy. 6 in Missouri City, on 59 in Richmond near the beginning of the Grand Pkwy., in Sugar Land’s Market at Town Center shopping center next to First Colony Mall, at Pearland Town Center, across from the Mason Village shopping center in Katy, further south down S. Mason Rd. near Highland Knolls Dr. in Katy, on I-45 south of Robinson Rd. in Spring, at The Woodlands Mall, and on I-45 north of W. Davis St. in Conroe.

The Big Sleep
10/08/18 10:15am

Soon it appears there’ll be only one Mattress Firm again in the Westmont Shopping Center at Montrose Blvd. and Westheimer: The one on the right at 1005 Westheimer is set to close while the one on the left at 1003 Westheimer is sticking around — for now, at least; more closures are on the way according to the plan Mattress Firm announced in its bankruptcy filing last week to, among other things, thin out areas it thinks are too crowded with its own stores by closing 700 of them after an initial group of more than 200 get axed “within the next few days.”

In a court filing, the chain said no liquidation sales are planned at any of its ill-fated stores. But signage outside the former Mattress-Proturned-Mattress-Firm Final Markdown this morning indicates otherwise:

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Final Days of a Final Markdown
10/02/18 1:30pm

As advertised by the banner fronting Montrose Blvd., the wine bar and its outdoor drinking area are now open for business. Getting things ready inside the venue took a little longer than it did to set up fencing. After the bottles went up in late August, the front door of the former homeless shelter stayed closed to patrons for a little over a month.

Audubon Place
09/26/18 10:30am

 

By its own count, Mattress Firm now has just over a dozen shops open inside the 610 Loop after closing its 202 Westheimer location next to the (also recently shuttered) Njoy Thai restaurant on Sunday. The full-strip store pictured above took over from Hollywood Food & Cigars #3 and its neighbor Tejas Boots under the name Mattress Pro 3 years ago before its parent retailer scrapped that pseudonym and rebranded all of its locations under the Mattress Firm moniker.

Over the last year, the chain’s shut down hundreds of storesreports USA Today‘s Nathan Bomey, who echoes other murmurs that the retailer’s South African parent company Steinhoff could soon file for bankruptcy. And as the legal battle between Mattress Firm and a trio of brokers it says profited through reckless dealmaking continues to play out in court, the company’s been hit with another suit. In it, mattress brand Tempur-Pedic — which lost its contract to sell products in 3,300 Mattress Firms last year — alleges that the retailer’s “Therapedic“-branded product line is a copycat version of its own bedding and that gullible consumers will be “will inevitably be confused and harmed,” by the knockoffs.

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Laid to Rest
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