The Discounting Has Begun: Idylwood Walmart Already Marked Down 25 Percent!

Just as Swamplot was reporting on the leaked site plan showing that a new full-size Walmart SuperCenter is being planned off the Gulf Fwy. at South Wayside Dr., Councilmember James Rodriguez comes back from a meeting with the company waving a slightly different site plan. And look, this one shows the proposed East End store between Idylwood and the freeway has already slimmed down by 58,000 sq. ft.! Does that qualify as a rollback? Plus: This plan (shown above, again rotated to fit Swamplot’s format) features 13 more parking spaces! Meanwhile, Walmart spokesperson Kellie Duhr tells the Chronicle the new store would be “about 150,000 sq. ft.” and feature a full grocery. That number jibes with the plan above. Also included this time, at no additional charge: an extra Tire and Lube Express next to the Garden Center on the south side. One curious detail, though: Both this plan and the one featured in Swamplot’s story on Monday are labeled with the same date.

What’s going into the lot at the corner of Maxwell Rd. and the I-45 feeder next to the driveway at the southwest corner of the site, labeled “Outlot 1″ on both plans? A source tells Swamplot it’s being eyed for a gas station from Walmart sidekick Murphy Oil.

Plan: Doucet and Associates

14 Comment

  • Good luck with the new plan. Looks like the street on the left and the right of the plan are going to be pretty darn busy at somepoint. The walmart by us causes traffice problems, since there is only one really good entrance that everyone uses.

  • Wayside is already notoriously backed up on a regular basis thanks to both the short timing on the light and the fact that the intersection itself was probably constructed incorrectly. The backup occurs to the bizarre lane configuration transgressing from Wayside to the feeder and under the freeway. Wayside can’t easily be widened for increased traffic as it would involve either taking out houses in Idylwood or cutting into the convent land. Neither option is an ideal proposition. As the WalMart will most likely need an intersection and a light to control traffic to and from the parking lot on Wayside, that will potentially create even more back up with three intersections with traffic lights in that close proximity to each other.

    It just seems like a ridiculously awful idea from a traffic and congestion perspective.

  • Have no fear. James Rodriguez is on the case!

  • @wino – the main entrance being on Wayside and not the feeder is pretty nearly the worst part of the entire design. Either they haven’t actually done a traffic analysis yet, or they should fire whomever performed it.

  • #3 iLackTact

    I have the feeling that he’s going to be as effective as Gonzales has been with the west end Walmart fight.

  • Walmart will build and let their customers and the City figure out the traffic. They will tell the City that the traffic counts for the store are 8k a day. But that number is based on a suburban store with a five mile radius population of a few thousand. Factoring in the population density and the commuter traffic, the traffic for this Walmart will easily double that number. If there is any good news, it may be that Walmart will probably add more stores in the area in their quest to completely saturate the Houston market and drive competition out of business.

  • Old School: You are propagating misinformation.

    You’re saying that Wal-Mart’s traffic analysis is based on suburban stores serving a few thousand people in a five-mile radius? If that’s 3,000 people in 78 square miles, then the population density is 38 per square mile, or 1 person per every 17 acres. Assuming 2.5 persons per household, then you’re talking about a Wal-Mart serving an area with one house per every 42.5 acres. That’s not suburban. That’s the Texas panhandle.

    Even if what you said were accurate, why would traffic measurements from a store serving a population with fewer shopping options and that is wholly dependent upon transportation by private automobile imply worse consequences for an urban store in a marketplace saturated by both large and small competitors?

    For the record, I agree that the traffic on Wayside sucks, and it sucks mostly due to regional traffic patterns around the port and port-related industry. I don’t see that a store on the hard corner is going to cause a whole lot more grief. And I do think that the inner I-45 South corridor is the perfect place for a new Wal-Mart, if there ever was one.

  • #7 – Why is a Walmart a good idea on the inner 45s corridor? There’s one 8 miles down the road and it’s a SuperCenter (http://goo.gl/QJQm2). There is no need for one on Wayside as traffic is horrible as of today. Walmart just needs to understand that a Walmart on every block is not what this city needs. If you don’t believe me, go to google maps, search for Houston,TX then click search nearby and type Walmart. I’m shocked at how many there are already in Houston and if you zoom out, it’s mind blowing.

  • Hey Keith, believe it or not, 8 miles is far away for many consumers. People like to shop within a 3 mile radius of where they live. Walmart is successful as they are because they perform market research on the areas they move into. Walmart or any other major retail chain for that matter does not blindly buy a piece of land and open up shop. The information you just uncovered is not groundbreaking.

  • #9 DJC – Did you also know that after the tax breaks for a store are done with, Walmart will just abandon that building for a new location with new tax breaks? Doesn’t really sound like they care much about research if they just leave a perfectly good building rot and go build another one. The consumers that are already in the area that care about where they shop (via distance) will continue to go to Fiesta, Sellers or HEB due the apartments in their vicinity. It’s the people that come from further than 3 miles out to shop here bc it’s new that I worry about due to the traffic concerns. As for myself and other Idylwood residents, we do not want this here especially if it’s just gonna make life miserable for those coming home from work and we can’t bc of the traffic. As for me, I like quality foods and shop at either HEB on Buffalo Speedway or Central Market. I may even venture to Sam’s to pick up a whole choice angus Rib Roast to cut into steaks for the price. I never liked shopping at Walmart and certainly won’t shop here just bc it’s 10 blocks away.

  • Keith,
    I haven’t done any research, but where are these abandoned Walmarts around town?

    I know some of the older, smaller Walmart stores have been repurposed (when WM has moved into a large supercenter) and some haven’t but how many in Houston?

    You don’t like the HEB down the road in Gulfgate? And didn’t our council member say this store wasn’t getting any “tax breaks”? Me thinks you are a heights resident posing as an east ender.

  • Pyewacket2 – I didn’t say they are in Houston and I don’t know if there are any yet? I’ve seen a Walmart get built right next to another Walmart and that abandon Walmart just stood there bc no business in that town got any breaks to tear it down. The HEB at gulfgate is to hispanicized bc that’s who HEB built it for to compete with Fiesta. They don’t have any quality meats bc it’s all Select grade, they won’t carry Choice or Prime1 unless I buy the whole damn case they order. The produce section is OK but lacking and the lines to check out are ridiculous, I waited 40 minutes to checkout in a express lane (15 items or less) with only 2 people in front of me. I live down on Fairfield in Idylwood, so yeah I don’t live in the heights.

  • My hometown has an existing Walmart building next to a new Supercenter.

    In about 6 months after it sat there, an Office Depot, a satellite office for the Parish Clerk of Courts, and two more subdivides in the building were leased out. The massive parking lot has also been broken up in the front for out-parcels.

    If the old buildings are stand alone, Walmart fully owns them and will do what they can to re-purposed and managed the property or try to sell it. Old Walmarts in shopping centers are typically leased spaces (unless walmart bought the whole center) which revert to property owner when they move out.

  • Thhis is insane!!! and of course Ed’s mini me James is all over this!??!?! these people can’t get a clue. They are efing up the city one neighborhood at a time. first, they ram down the “preservation” ordinance and now they want to put a walmart less than 5 miles apart from TWO others in the area!??!?! wth!!! and no says anything??????? i can’t beleive smap lot is not crying foul? oh, yeah, thats right, he gave them preservation, lets not forget that!!!!!!!!!!!!