06/26/17 3:30pm

HOW AMAZON AND WHOLE FOODS MARKET COULD CREATE THE NEW BUILDING BLOCKS OF URBAN COMMERCE, AND WHAT SOME OF THEM MIGHT LOOK LIKE Will Amazon transform Whole Foods Market into a grocery services building block for farmers, restaurants, and specialty grocers — on the model of the way Amazon Web Services now serves software developers? Joshua Rothman provides a brief overview of current thinking about Amazon’s possible plans for the grocery chain — and how the result might transform the landscapes of cities: “It’s increasingly easy to imagine,” he writes, “that a few decades from now, we’ll tell our kids about how we used to ‘go to the store’; they’ll look at us and say, ‘What?’ Earlier this month, Amazon filed a patent application describing large, multi-story drone towers in urban centers. Probably, in the future, such buildings will seem unremarkable. The hive-like towers will have loading docks and warehouses on the lower floors and bays for drones higher up; the drones may be repaired and supplied by robots. ‘There is a growing need and desire to locate fulfillment centers within cities, such as in downtown districts,‘ the patent application says.” [The New Yorker] Image from Amazon’s patent application for drone-delivery warehouse tower: U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, via SiliconBeat

06/16/17 9:00am

AMAZON WILL SWALLOW WHOLE FOODS WHOLE For those who expected Whole Foods Market to shop itself to a fellow grocery store chain and not a powerful company experimenting with drone delivery, some surprising news this morning: Amazon plans to acquire the Austin-based company for $13.7 billion. “Whole Foods Market will continue to operate stores under the Whole Foods Market brand and source from trusted vendors and partners around the world,” the company reports. [Whole Foods; background from Texas Monthly] Photo of Whole Foods Market at West Alabama and Kirby: ilovebutter [license]

06/12/17 3:30pm

Back in March, excavators were cleared from the site at the northeast corner of Yale St. and the 610 North feeder road after heavy-equipment rental facility Neff Rental shut down. But at least one of them is back again today, reports a Swamplot reader who passed by the site. It’s shown in the left side of the photo above, performing what appears to be some site prep work for the future home of Houston’s first-ever 365 by Whole Foods market. Also on site, in the foreground of the photo taken from Yale St.: a new construction trailer.

Opening date for the mini-Whole Foods Market at 3004 N. Yale St. at the southern border of Independence Heights — originally scheduled for 2017 —has been pushed back to next year, according to the Houston Business Journal.

Photo: Swamplot inbox

Groceries for Garden Oaks
05/08/15 3:30pm

Rendering of Proposed Whole Foods Market in Pearl on Smith Apartments, 3100 Smith St. at Elgin, Midtown, Houston

Now we know why the Morgan Group, the developer that applied for a variance last year to allow for a Pearl on Smith apartment complex to fit onto the block surrounded by Elgin, Smith, Brazos, and Rosalie streets, later withdrew the request: To expand the project so that it could include a 40,000-sq.-ft. Whole Foods Market on its ground floor. And here’s a rendering of the design of the whole thing by Houston’s Ziegler Cooper Architects.

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Pearl on Smith on Elgin
05/07/15 2:45pm

3100 Smith St., Midtown, Houston

What better encapsulation of the recent trajectory of Midtown could you find than today’s news that Whole Foods Market plans to build a new 40,000-sq.-ft. store on the former site of the city’s Social Security Office (pictured above) at 3100 Smith St. in Midtown?

Well, a few details to the story of the ramshackle block surrounded by Smith, Brazos, Elgin, and Rosalie give it even more color as a Houston gentrification parable: Noting, for example, that the former government office, across the street from a couple of bars, had been shuttered by the feds a couple years ago. Or that plans for a Morgan Group apartment complex on the same site were submitted to the city and then abandoned sometime last year. (It would have been called the Pearl on Smith.) Also: When it opens at the end of 2017, Whole Foods Market’s new Midtown location may turn out not to be a Whole Foods Market. The company says it’s developing an unnamed “sister chain” of smaller stores targeting younger buyers, but did not indicate whether the Midtown Houston store would be part of it.

Photo: O’Connor & Associates

The Midtown Story in a Nutshell
04/03/15 2:30pm

Whole Foods Market Under Construction, 11041 Westheimer Rd. at Wilcrest, Westchase, Houston

Crews have broken open the front of the former Randalls grocery store in the Westchase Shopping Center at the corner of Wilcrest and Westheimer, and are busy inserting a new, smaller Whole Foods Market inside. The photo above shows the view from the One Westchase Center office building, immediately to the east. This isn’t Whole Foods’ first Randalls redo; a new Whole Foods at 1407 S. Voss, on the former site of another Randalls, is scheduled to open next Wednesday.

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Westchase Front
11/04/14 12:30pm

whole-foods-post-oak-cosmo

Swamplot culled through the best of the many media previews of the Whole Foods Market Houston-area flagship on Post Oak Blvd. — so you don’t have to! Yes, the much-hyped supermarket is finally throwing open its doors to the public Thursday. (Free reusable shopping bag to the first 500 customers!) So here is a quick round-up of the wonders within the 8-years-in-the-making anchor development in BLVD Place:

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Post Oak Supermarket Tizzy
09/16/14 1:30pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: FULLY QUALIFIED TO BRING YOU BEER BY TRICYCLE WHILE YOU SHOP Whole Foods Market Tricycle“I submitted my résumé for the position. As an expedition touring cyclist I think I’m qualified to make a few rounds within 55k sq. ft. toting clanging bottles of beer. Instead of wearing weather resistant gear I think I’ll gladly don tweed knickers and a driving cap to look the part. Here’s to 1mph in the meat section. Wish me luck Houston. I ride with the wind.” [Rider of Rohan., commenting on Galleria Whole Foods Market Opening November 6, Will Include Austin-Import Beer-on-a-Trike] Illustration: Lulu

09/15/14 1:00pm

GALLERIA WHOLE FOODS MARKET OPENING NOVEMBER 6, WILL INCLUDE AUSTIN-IMPORT BEER-ON-A-TRIKE BLVD Place Whole Foods Market Under Construction, 1700 Post Oak Blvd., Galleria, HoustonThe long-awaited BLVD Place Whole Foods Market will finally open on November 6, reports the HBJ‘s Jenny Agee-Aldridge. And the grocery juggernaut has fed her another notable market-marketing nugget: Shoppers at the new 55,000-sq.-ft. store at 1700 Post Oak Blvd. will be able to make beer orders and receive deliveries while shopping — from a beer-toting store employee riding a tricycle around the market. The non-motorized alcohol delivery setup, Agee-Aldridge notes, is an Austin import. But the beer source is a Houston first: The store will be the first Whole Foods’ anywhere to have its own brewery on the premises, and will feature beer-themed breads and desserts as well. [Houston Business Journal; previously on Swamplot] Photo: Russell Hancock

07/25/14 2:15pm

Randalls Grocery Store, 11041 Westheimer Rd., Westchase Shopping Center, Westchase, HoustonA new 45,000-sq.-ft. Whole Foods Market will move into a portion of the soon-to-be-closing recently closed Randalls grocery store in the Westchase Shopping Center, landlord Weingarten Realty announced today. The 25,663-sq.-ft. Whole Foods Market that’s been operating in the same REIT’s Market at Westchase since 1991 — just across Wilcrest at 11145 Westheimer — will shutter when the new Whole Foods opens — in 2016.

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Chasing Groceries in Westchase
11/07/13 11:27am

Woodlands organic shoppers: Do not let the parking garage that appears to be enveloping the new Whole Foods Market in this rendering scare you off. The press release announcing the grocery chain’s first Woodlands store declares there’ll be “ample surface parking” adjacent to the market. Whew! Construction will start on the 40,000-sq.-ft. store soon, the Woodlands Development Company announced this morning. It’ll be part of Hughes Landing, the new 66-acre office, hotel, retail, and apartment complex going in on the northeast bank of Lake Woodlands. The store will be near the intersection of Lake Front Circle and Lake Woodlands Dr., with the main entrance shown above coming off Lake Front. That likely places it in the spot marked “Grocery” in this rotated plan of the development’s southern half:

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07/22/13 10:00am

Here’s another of the occasional photos a reader sends of the construction progress of the Whole Foods at the mixed-use BLVD Place just north of the Galleria. Thanks to the photos that span almost a year now, you can watch the development develop here at the intersection of San Felipe and Post Oak Blvd.: Witness the preliminary site work beginning last August to the installation of piers and rebar in October and the rising of the parking structure in February. So what else is new? That parking structure appears just about ready, and even more dirt has been moved around — where those cars are parked in the foreground — for the proposed Hanover apartment tower.

Photo: Swamplot inbox

04/04/13 10:30am

Construction’s expected to begin next week on this Whole Foods at that once-forested spot near Louetta and Cutten Rd. east of the Tomball Pkwy. The 40,443-sq.-ft. store in the master-planned community The Vintage, south of the path of the Grand Parkway, will be the first Whole Foods in North Houston. Houston Business Journal‘s Shaina Zucker notes that the Gensler-designed store will anchor the 18-acre Vintage Marketplace.

Image: Judy Nichols & Associates, via Houston Business Journal

02/13/13 3:30pm

They grow up so fast: Sending photos in August and October, a reader has been documenting from on high the progress of BLVD Place near San Felipe and Post Oak — and now here’s one more. What’s new? Well, what used to be nothing but grass in the foreground has been stripped for the Hanover apartment tower. And the Whole Foods shell appears to be shaping up, too.

Photo: Swamplot inbox

10/19/12 1:29pm

From an upper floor to the east, looking toward Downtown: Piers are in and some column rebar bundles are up already for the BLVD Place building fronting Post Oak Blvd. (the street just beyond the construction site in the photo). According to plans posted online, an underground parking level with room for 260 cars will fit below the 48,500-sq.-ft. Whole Foods Market, with more parking behind and above the grocery-store space on 2 additional levels. Also going into the building at the corner of San Felipe St.: other retail, restaurant, and office spaces.

Photo: Swamplot inbox