The New Strip Centers Coming to Heights Blvd. and Other Details of the Washington Heights District West End Walmart Plan

At last night’s meeting, representatives of the Ainbinder Company revealed the suburban-style site plan for the development centered around Yale and Koehler streets in the West End they’re calling the Washington Heights District. Among the plan’s notable features: 2 bank- or chain-restaurant-style pad sites planted on the west side of Yale St. just south of Koehler, and a couple new strip centers along Heights Blvd., each featuring a double row of parking spaces in front. A rendering of the southmost strip (above) shows it changing facade costume every few bays, following the template of a sort of mini-Wild, Wild West version of Uptown Park. These new buildings would become only the 5th and 6th strip centers on the almost-3-mile length of Heights Blvd., joining such exclusive company as the Heights Food Mart north of Center St., the cell-phone-friendly Heights Retail Center at I-10, the Pink’s Pizza and Sunny’s Food Store combo at 14th St., and that just-in-from-Austin building at 6th St. that used to house McCain’s Market — in easy-auto-access splendor.

One change from the version of the site plan leaked last month: 2 other strip centers in the project — both on Yale St. south of the main Walmart driveway — have been moved up to the street and their parking placed in back. Well, maybe the back: It isn’t clear from the renderings, but it’s likely the store entrances will move to the Walmart side as well, turning away from Yale. The development’s 5th strip center offers parking-lot views to all 3 streets it faces: Heights, Koehler, and Yale.

But the Washington Heights District promises to be so much more than just a symphony of Inner Loop strip centers. There’s also . . . the Walmart!

***

Plans show the 152,015-sq.-ft. tastefully brownish behemoth backed up to Bonner St., behind a 664-car surface parking lot. Nine lonely trees are shown sprinkled throughout the expanse, though the lot is bordered by rows of greenery and a delightful allée provides a corridor of shade from the perimeter drive to a phalanx of handicapped parking spaces.

The development’s new website details landscape and infrastructure upgrades the developer is promising to make — if the city comes through with a 380 agreement to pay for it. These include a slightly undulating crushed-limestone path through the Heights Blvd. median (above) which — if you cross the White Oak bridge and travel under the I-10 overpass — will connect wandering shoppers to the rest of the Heights Esplanade. Also: improvements to portions of Yale, Bonner, Koehler — and Bass St., which will extend to a new I-10 eastbound feeder road.

Though a brochure sent to area residents in support of the new Walmart a couple of weeks ago described the the location as “much in need of remediation” from previous industrial uses, the Washington Heights District website refers to the area as a “once contaminated” site.

Images: Moody Rambin Retail

83 Comment

  • Not bad. I have to admit–I was expecting more. Wal-Mart had been playing it up as something unique, which this isn’t. It’s nice enough, though, and definitely an upgrade from what’s there right now. It’ll be a walkable amenity for residents of the nearby Core Apartments and a pedestrian-friendly connective zone between the Heights and Washington Avenue.

    Go Wal-Mart!

  • I agree with TheNiche. Also, if the 380 agreement includes the requirement for larger diameter trees to be planted, I think the whole thing could look better, more quickly than the typical new strip center. Probably nicer than most of the redone strip centers on Washington. I’m underwhelmed, but unconcerned.

  • UNDERWHELMED as well by the suburban-style planning. All those perimeter street trees and “nine lonely trees” in the parking lot are minimums already REQUIRED by the current CoH Landscape Ordinance. This could be plopped down anywhere in Houston – how about a little creativity, WalMart?! This site had some really wonderful planning opportunities.

  • Well I would prefer to have Uptown Park part II built there, but will gladly settle for suburban retail. Anything is better than the eye sore the lot is today.

  • Phil, planning is irrelevant without execution. The year is 2010; you’ve got to check your expectations at the door. Wal-Mart is one of the very few retailers well-capitalized enough to spur new development.

  • Target on Sawyer take two.

    Better than an industrial site but nothing but a suburban-style strip mall development. Houston missed another opportunity to do something different for once. Sad.

  • Looks okay, I guess. Bummer that there is still suburban style developemnt still going on in the inner loop. Houston would be so much more walkable if all the stip centers just moved up to the street with parking in the back. Wish someone would start this trend.

  • Bleah. Exactly what doesn’t make a city particularly attractive to anybody. Way to compete, Houston.

  • Wow, that’s just the opposite of dense.

  • Bad design.

  • Definition of GENERIC

    a : relating to or characteristic of a whole group or class : general
    b : being or having a nonproprietary name
    c : having no particularly distinctive quality or application

  • The cow goes, “moo.” The cat goes, “meow.” The sheeple go, “blah.”

  • “Houston would be so much more walkable if all the stip centers just moved up to the street with parking in the back. Wish someone would start this trend.”
    -
    CoH’s 25-ft setback requirements pretty much dictate that this will never happen. Once you’re 25-ft back from the street, you might as well go far enough back to get two rows of parking. (CoH’s minimum parking requirements don’t help.)
    The only reason that the buildings on Yale (at the southern end of the development) are that close to the street is that this is the area along the underpass, and therefore the 25-ft setback doesn’t apply.
    -
    I thought the entire area bounded by (the new section of) Kohler, Yale, Heights and the RR tracks was part of this development. Does someone else own this tract?

  • “CoH’s 25-ft setback requirements pretty much dictate that this will never happen.”

    Actually, the new development ordinances allow & encourage closer setbacks in urban districts. It’s the suburban retail planning mentality that puts parking in front, and discourages pedestrian friendly development.

  • Phil, neither Yale Street or Heights Blvd. are the “Urban Corridors” for which a 25-foot setback is exempt. Those changes were mostly designed to accommodate development synergies with light rail.

  • I wonder why anyone with a lick of sense would have expected anything different from Wal-Mart.

    The good news is, this thing is so poorly planned and space managed that it’ll likely be replaced by 2020.

  • True. And I may be wrong, but I think any street with less than 60 foot R.O.W. can also have the closer building setbacks. I tried to do it at Pronto Cucinino, but R.O.W. on Montrose was too wide.

  • According to folks I know associated with this project, Ainbinder is going to build this project whether anyone likes it or not. They own the land and there is not much that anyone can do to stop them. They are playing nice with the city because they think that they might have something to gain ($$$) from Mayor Parker. If the city decides to tell them to take a hike, it will probably get a lot uglier (figuratively and literally).

  • What is this a mile from downtown Houston? Two?

    Hey suburbanites!! Come on back!! You won!! We give up!!

  • This looks beautiful and awesome, all at the same time. Having just moved to the area it really reminds me of the beautiful shopping centers we have in Pearland. I really hope they put a McDonalds in this Walmart…And perhaps if this is really a “green” Walmart they’ll use nothing but paper bags. That way no one can complain about plastic bags in the Bayou…Hell yes this is gonna rock!!!

  • If I wanted suburban, I’d live in Sugarland. The development looks boring, lacking urban flare.

  • Lame.

    What Houston has become.

  • I have to say, this Wal-Mart matches its detractors quite well. It is boring and so are they.

  • TheNiche: Wrong. Read the ordinance. Section 42-155. Transit corridors were never required to bring a building up to the street, just a major thoroughfare and some willingness to crawl outside the box developers are always hiding inside. This exception to the 25-foot setback has been there for a long time, it’s easy, and developers almost never do it. Why? Maybe because they’re so used to doing things the same way somebody else did that they just never bother to read the damn thing.

  • I hope they make it..I’m not going to lie its a little too suburban….I wish they made it closer to the street…but who cares as long as they make it nice, pedestrian friendly and say a big SCREW YOU! to the yuppies who are whining about this…And thats on snoopy blue cuzz…!

  • I hope they make a wal-mart on every corner in the HEIGHTS…I wonder what the yuppies will do then..(sarcasm)Oh no? another Wal-mart? More Brown People? Will this development make the Heights even uglier than it already is??? Whatever shall we do??

  • Required setbacks?? I am waiting for the usual suspects to wail loudly about this unacceptable encroachment on property rights.

  • The opposition has nothing to do with “brown” people. The Heights is already an Anglo-Hispanic neighborhood. The racist comments are ignorant. And fyi–the developer is tearing down an apartment complex full of “brown” people. The racists should be cheering the developer on. There is nothing we can do to stop it but we can ignore it which I will find easy to do.

  • How beautiful…will be a wonderful addition to the area, and will certainly get my business. We need local stores of a mixture to meet all the economic groups of our community. Diversity like this will be a blessing.

  • Diversity. Walmart. Never thought I’d hear those two words in the same sentence spoken (I assume) with a straight face. Stay tuned folks. More supreme irony on its way….

  • The setback are a safety measure concerning site distances particularly at corners. Set backs can easily be bypassed if it is shown that sight distances aren’t compromised or the street is not a major thoroughfare.

    The urban corridors initiative to encourage developers to build close to the street is only for light rail corridors and a certain distance from the corridors on adjacent streets. Swamplot posted something in reference to Carraba’s on Kirby utilizing the new rules to build closer.

    Also, the strip center on Yale can’t face the street when the street 15+ feet below natural ground.

  • Sidegate,

    Walmart will be infinitely more diverse than Whole Foods or Central Market any day.

  • James Chapman is correct, those opposing the walmart are not necessarily racist. The concern is the class of the clientele that patronizes walmart. A few posters have been honest enough to admit they are opposed to the walmart due to the clientele who, they speculate, will leave trash/diapers in the parking lot and shopping carts throughout the neighborhood, etc, etc. They are not keen to celebrate the kind of diversity that walmart will bring.

  • I understand NorhillJoe and James Chapmans point. What boggles my mind is that these same people that are for central planning were often a major concept is mixed income residential development. Mixing the classes so that they aren’t divided and segregated. Now that Walmart comes in and is an attractor of all classes. Walmart doesn’t discriminate. All can shop there (and all do).

    Are these people for diversity but except for when it comes near them?

  • Don’t need it. Shop local.

  • This is simply a matter of traffic. These streets cannot support this level of traffic. Period.

  • I like the traffic argument. Makes me laugh. The residents of the heights could have said (and probably did) that 10 years ago when everybody was moving back into the neighborhood.

  • First of all, Yale has more than enough capacity.

    Secondly, if these people care so damn much about the way the neighborhood looks and think a Walmart will make it look trashy, why are they using liquid nails to glue their ugly yard signs to light poles all over the Heights?

    Because yard signs glued to light poles doesn’t look trashy at all …

  • Generic suburban shopping located in generic suburban buildings. Not very good.

  • Sadly, the question is not if this will be built, its how will it look. Maybe include a few more trash cans so people can dump their diapers and ashtrays out, instead of the streets.

    Take a photo of each of the Walmarts closest to the proposed and see what the sites look like. For the first 6 months all the city planners will say how nice it is. Then typical malaise will set in and it will become trashy.

  • So this is the best Walmart/Aibinder can offer?Wow look at all the green in the background. It almost looks like Memorial Park (minus the rest of the neighborhoods and train). And yes, the jogging trail … great way to take the Walmart shopping cart home full of groceries to your 800K home :)

    Heights and Washington Ave communities are very active in their local areas & businesses, and yes, partly because there is a lot more influx of money here now. But this was also true before the money started flowing back into the area. Aibinder can do much better and make so much more money in the long run if they just think outside of the box. It could put Aibinder as one of the top builders in Houston if they do. But alas, the executives probably want to retire soon so they are taking the Walmart check i.e Weingarten approach. I see this current suburban plan have a life span of 10 years max before it’s rundown. People running Aibinder 10 years from now will deal with it then.

    Stop Heights Walmart movement is not just whites. I am not one for starters. I am met two 70 year West End African Americans at the Mayor’s meeting who live near me and they told many of the older people in the West End do not want this crap built because it will destroy the neighborhood, and especially when all the recent influx of people moving in have help get rid of crime in the area. They care about their neighborhood too. They care about this city too. It’s not a class issue, it’s not a yuppie issue, it’s not a race issue. It’s a question of an urban neighborhood survival. Unlike the misleading Aibinder has put out, there are people living on N (partial), W and S sides of this Walmart site. And on East side, an appartment complex will be demolish.

  • Oh yeah, there is a reason way West End neighborhood has not gotten Walmart mailers when all the other neighborhoods near and far got it.

  • @Irfan, you offer powerful evidence supporting your contention that walmart would ruin the neighborhood. I would usually concede when presented with a confirmation from two African American West End residents in their 70′s. However I spoke with three West End residents who were either African American, Latino or mixed race, aged 50 to 80. They indicated the older residents were opposed due to the crime, trash, etc that walmart customers would bring to the neighborhood. Three of a kind beats a pair.

  • The Heights has plenty of diversity when it comes to retail. Drive up and down Shepherd and Durham and it’s all over the map. There is already a Target in the immediate area. Wal Mart is building another store to the immediate west just outside of the Loop. Wal Mart could assemble land in a more appopriate area. But no, they want to build up to the back of a neighborhood. And the development overall is right out of First Colony. The developer is not respecting the look of the neighborhood. But though we can’t stop the development we can boycott shopping there or anything near it.

  • Man. A suburban type of store in the middle of an urban area area in a city trying to increase density. This is sad. I’m not against the Wal-Mart either. Just against the suburban model they want to build and what will be built around it. The Texas cities will be always be suburban.

  • “Man. A suburban type of store in the middle of an urban area area in a city trying to increase density. This is sad. I’m not against the Wal-Mart either. Just against the suburban model they want to build and what will be built around it. The Texas cities will be always be suburban.”
    -
    Well, from vacant lot to retail development is densification. It may not be sufficiently “urban” to satisfy some people, but it’s a step in the right direction.
    Even though this area is not far from downtown, it is not, in any useful sense of the word, urban. With the exception of the blocks immediately to the West, and the (soon to be demolished) apartments on Heights, the population density in the immediate vicinity is essentially zero. Which means that the vast majority of people who come to this development will do so by car.
    Additionally, land value in the area is not high enough to justify multi-level parking. (Even downtown there’s still a lot of surface parking.)
    I suspect that if the anchor tenant were HEB or Whole Foods, this would not be criticized as “suburban style”. Note that this is not stylistically different from those stores’ ITL locations (WF on Alabama and the one under construction on Waugh, HEB on Buffalo Spdwy and Central Market on Westheimer).

  • I’m sorry but everyone that is saying the there’s a 25 foot setback for strip centers hasn’t read chapter 42 recently. A few years ago (at least) they put in an article encouraging developers of strip centers to have their building up on the street and parking in the back, and that section is complete with drawings/diagrams. This is maybe a couple of miles outside downtown, and we are still building suburban development here. Too generic, makes me sick. I was all for building this Wallmart but not like this. Consider me opposed for now, with this design. I understand if the WalMart is behind a huge parking lot but the other strip centers also surrounded by surface parking. Yuck.

  • It’s a shitty plan. Which will decay rapidly and be razed and replaced in 20 years. There should be housing above the stores. The 25 foot setback is stupid, there should be a single row of parking on the streeetfront the way there is at the River Oaks Center and in the Village, and the rest of the parking should go behind. Why are Houston planners and developers and architects so fucking mediocre? Why can’t we learn from all the cities where we go take vacations?

  • In addition to being a great addition to our community, this development will be a great economic creation…construction jobs, retail jobs (I have no problems signing up to work part time at a local business..the smile you get when you walk in may be on my face) and a windfall to help pay for city, county and state services…the sales taxes and property taxes (including inventories and equipment) will be a real plus…anyway we need jobs for seniors and not over educated citizens. Gosh how wonderful.

  • Scott, I would invite you to go out into the capital markets and try to raise financing for new multifamily housing. It cannot be done. I appreciate your preference for density, and I’m sure that Ainbinder would rather be doing a more intensive project as well (since developers are often paid a fee by their investors for acting as a general partner, and that fee is based on the cost of the development). But Wal-Mart and some shadow retail appear to be the best that they can pull off, and it doesn’t surprise me.

    As for the 25-foot setback rules…mea culpa. Looks like they were updated around the time that I got laid off because a multifamily developer realized that there was no money out there to do anything impressive with, Scott.

  • Stop Ashby Walmart! Or is it Heights Highrise? I’m confused…

    Personally, I’m looking forward to this WalMart, which will be about a mile from my house. The gas I will save not having to drive to the suburbs to buy my cheap Chinese crap will be astounding. Global Warming… err, Climate Change will end!

    So many busybodies with nothing better to do than tell someone else what to do. Sheesh.

  • @The Niche: I know that it’s hard to raise money for massive developments, especially when a development isn’t needed, and when there are plenty of other retail options within a 5 minute drive. But did you see the parking garage/retail/nightclub/housing structure just built in Miami Beach by Herzog + Meuron?

    http://www.archicentral.com/1111-lincoln-road-miami-beach-usa-herzog-de-meuron-10636/

    There’s just as much money for development here in Houston. This is a Top Down problem we have. We do not have the leadership in this city to do fantastically well designed projects like this. The City Government, the Developer community, the architectural establishment, and the banks – none of these have people have the foresight to understand that a great city is built with great architecture and great planning. But a soccer stadium? sure why not? Maybe we can just make stadium after stadium, because there’s always some good argument for one of those here.

  • “I’m sorry but everyone that is saying the there’s a 25 foot setback for strip centers hasn’t read chapter 42 recently. A few years ago (at least) they put in an article encouraging developers of strip centers to have their building up on the street and parking in the back, and that section is complete with drawings/diagrams.”

    In this case, since the pad sites are part of a larger parcel, the reduced setbacks don’t apply. (See 42-155c)

  • And another thing, for anybody that says “Oh we don’t have the money here in Houston for top notch design, the banks won’t fund it.” I got two words for you: Great Depression. They REALLY had money troubles back then, and it didn’t stop people from building well and building beautiful.

  • I don’t think it’s about the money. It’s fundamentally about land value. You only build vertically when dirt is expensive. Land in this area just isn’t expensive enough to justify “urban-style” development.

  • Scott, you’re trying to compare a prime parcel in downtown Miami to a lonely brownfield sandwiched between an interstate highway and some railroad tracks.

    I would also point out that our City is facing a significant budget shortfall, making it imprudent to invest in frivilous projects. And I’d also point out that the developers in Houston and the developers operating in Houston and headquartered elsewhere do not and will not exist within the context of the political, legal, or economic environment of the 1930′s. Lots has changed in 80 years.

  • My point guys, is if you can’t make a profit building well (at least for a 40 year building life), then your project isn’t necessary and shouldn’t be built. That project was in Miami Beach, not downtown Miami. Except for the beachfront and for a few buildings on Lincoln Road, most of Miami Beach is two stories. Montrose has more multistory buildings than Miami Beach. If you could actually build a Walmart and retail that included the same sort of residential development that’s located further down the street on Yale on the railroad tracks (2 -4 stories), then it might be a better fit for that neighborhood. The costs of freeway improvements, and sewage and utility infrastructure could go twice as far if housing went above retail. If we can float bonds for sports stadiums, why can’t do the same for retail/housing hybrid developments?

  • OK wise guy, so what do you do for a living? And why aren’t you in the real estate development business, bringing this kind of project to Houston and out-bidding Wal-Mart for land?

  • I’m not convinced that a West Ave style development would be successful on this spot. The jury’s still out on whether or not a West Ave style development will be successful where West Ave is located.

  • At the end of the day, if people really didn’t want big box retail coming to this area then they should have made more of a stink about TxDOT starting the thru feeder project up again. The thru feeders are there to spur commercial development alongside the freeway. Without them this land was practically useless for retail. With them it was only a matter of time before a big retail development went in here. In fact if I wanted to start a conspiracy theory I would say that there was a suspicioulsy small time lag between the feeder project restarting and Ainbinder promoting this land to multiple potential buyers …. coincidence?

  • Considering the feeder roads have been publicly known about since around 2000, Ainbinder and other commercial interests mostly have been sitting quietly until the project was moving towards construction.

    The feeder road project was to be part of the overall Katy Freeway reconstruction. It was put on hold to iron out some engineering issues. TxDOT moved forward with the rest of the Katy Freeway leaving the feeder roads for a later project.

    Around 2006, TxDOT had public meetings again to talk about the several detention and floodplain mitigation facilities that they were designing as part of the feeder road project. TxDOT is working with CoH and HCFCD to have these detention basins turned into park-like facilities with trails and landscaping. Various local groups can be thanked for working with TxDOT and HCFCD to help broker an agreement.

  • Was the Houston Heights Association one of those local groups?

  • Yes. They were in general opposed to the feeder roads, but since it was moving forward they showed support for the detention basins being turned into parks.

  • If anyone remembers when the Target (I-10 & Sawyer) was in the planning stages there was general support as people thought local businesses, restaurants, etc would be in the “Sawyer Heights”. Look what happened…? Typical stores that go in with a Target are there and only one or two local businesses. So next time you drive by any Wal-Mart – check and see what other stores (IF ANY) are in the same development. That’s what will go in no matter how much lipstick they put on this pig. The only way to stop it is to stop the proposed Wal-mart from going in.

    Also Ainbinder’s threats about not “playing nice” are ridiculous – if he doesn’t play nice and puts it in no matter what, he is going to have an empty plaza with a giant empty Wal-Mart.

  • Mary,

    How can you explain that the TacoBell/KFC, Panda Express, Smoothie King, and Subway aren’t local?

    Each of these are owned by a franchise company which is local. Only a portion of the local money spent there go to the corporate parents and the rest remain with the franchise owner.

    This is also true for MOST McDonald’s, Starbuck, and pretty much every “casual” dining establishment. Yes, they are national names, but locally owned.

    The Target development did not lie in their claim. Almost all the tenants in that development are local outside of the big tenants of Target, PetSmart, Staples, and the bank at the entrance. Amegy bank closer to the freeway is locally owned.

  • kjb, I think that you missed Mary’s point. You see, she is a proponent of poorly-capitalized, unadvertised, fly-by-night, high-failure-rate retailers with inconsistent product offerings and an inefficient supply chain.

  • LOL!!!

    I have to save that for future use with a by-line.

  • An HBJ article during the planning stages stated that Sawyer Heights would be like Town & Country or Highland Village….not even close and Target has a higher average customer income than Wal-Mart ($35K vs $50K and the retailers/restaurants know that!)

  • To those of you who were still in college or High School in 2004…

    http://houston.bizjournals.com/houston/stories/2004/11/15/newscolumn4.html

    “Sawyer Heights Village will be an urban shopping center, similar in style to Highland Village and Town & Country Villages, Moss says.”

  • Mary,

    Since Town and Country and Highland Village are both simple suburban strip centers, saying Sawyer Heights would be similar isn’t far off at all.

    Highland village eventually had to add the parking garage and a some retail/office on a second floor, but in the beginning it was just a suburban strip center. Having some high-end retail doesn’t change that fact.

    Also, the style of development versus that actual retail that is leased there is two different things.

  • to:KJB343

    Exactly!

    “Real estate broker Lance Gilliam of the retail division of Moody Rambin Interests has been handling the project.

    Gilliam hopes to attract chef-driven restaurants, local boutiques and non-chain outlets to the retail space on Yale and Heights Boulevard, as an extension of the restaurant development that has occurred along Washington Avenue in recent years.

    “We have really made an effort to reach out to the Houston, and also to Texas cities including, Austin, to see who that is out there would best serve this community,” Gilliam said. “We want shops that are unique and add to the community.””

    http://culturemap.com/newsdetail/08-20-10-unveiled-new-washington-heights-project-to-bring-retail-restaurants-and-a-walmart-to-houston-inner-loop-by-ra/

    With the average shopper Household income at $35k they are blowing smoke up everyone’s……nose as to what will really happen. It will not be serving the community – it will be serving people outside of the community pulling off of I-10. It will be trash if it gets built.

  • What’s wrong with serving folks driving on I-10? They are people too.

    Actually, with your income numbers, the Target center as built and the future Wal-Mart center is exactly what should be built here.

  • If it’s trash, maybe the current residents of the area will move on up and out to where?, maybe River Oaks.

    Then, those folks that got pushed out of the heights will come back and love shopping at the Walmart.

    If people don’t shop at this particular store, then it will close. Perhaps at that point, HEB (the golden child of the heights) would come in and repurpose the building. Wouldn’t be the first time right here in Houston that HEB has done that!

  • Mary, you probably should not put much stock in the difference betwen nationwide average incomes of Wal-Mart vs. Target shoppers. Store by store, that has at least as much to do with where Wal-Mart builds as it does with where shoppers shop. Besides which, the fate of Sawyer Heights should be proof enough that it doesn’t matter much one way or the other.

    The thing about big box destination retail is that it generates traffic. Retail on pad sites can effectively cater to that traffic by efficiently offering low-margin products at high volumes. It could be a Costco with a 24 Hour Fitness on top of it, and it wouldn’t change that model. Hell, there’s a Jamba Juice kitty corner to the Galleria. There’s your sign!

  • Mary, if you think there are not significant numbers of people in the Heights living at those income levels then you are sorely mistaken. You may not want them to live here but that doesn’t change reality one iota.

  • In fact, to prove it lets look at HISD stats. To be considered economically disadvantaged by HISD a family of four needs to earn less than $31765 per annum. Of the Heights area schools the percentage of children who are from economically disdvantaged households:
    Reagan High – 82%
    Hamilton Middle – 77%
    Hogg Middle – 88%
    Field Elementary – 95%
    Helms Elementary – 76%
    Love Elementary – 92%
    Harvard Elementary – 57%
    Travis Elementary – 42%

    Now, are you going to tell me that none of these people are from the neighborhood too?

  • Jimbo:

    To be fair, there are rather stark differences in the fertility rates of Angry White People (AWP) and their impoverished brown-ish counterparts.

  • Irfan:

    WOW!!!! 2 black people in the Heights dont want a Wal-Mart!!! that definitely means all black don’t want a Wal-Mart????…btw how come know one made an issue of the Target….hmmmmmm I wonder why???? …This city is built on business and if you don’t like it go kick it with Fidel

    The whole class this thing is the biggest cop out I’ve ever heard the dumbest thing ….Screw the racist yuppies and build 100000000000000 Wal-marts in the very craptacular heights or Washington heights/Ave/sixth ward/west end/rice miltary…

  • I am a native Houstonian, and I am starting to loose faith in Houston. Wal-Mart isn’t the only issue. Most people in Houston couldn’t care less if Wal-Mart built anywhere, except if its in their backyard. Wal-Mart will do its purpose, aim at the supply-side consumers and will give work to many people who probably couldn’t find it anywhere else. Although as an Urban-Planning/Architecture Major, it is amazing to dream about a beautiful place where pedestrian friendliness abounds. A park or public garden with a few cafes or local coffee joints, yet Wal-Mart is thriving.
    I wonder if Wal-Mart has plans to dominate downtown Houston…that was supposed to be an new and hip area, Houston is more and more disappointing, I still have hope and love for you Houston.

  • From the HBJ article about Sawyer Heights Target:

    “The developer is turning Taylor/Sawyer into a heavily landscaped boulevard with brick roadways, and has designs to make the entire project pedestrian-friendly, Moss says.”

  • The difference between Sawyer Heights and Ainbinder’s development is that Ainbinder will only receive reimbursement for the work if they complete it to the specifications of the 380 agreement. There is an incentive for Ainbinder to do more than just blow smoke.

  • “Although as an Major, it is amazing to dream about a beautiful place where pedestrian friendliness abounds. A park or public garden with a few cafes or local coffee joints, yet Wal-Mart is thriving.”

    Do they not make Urban-Planning/Architecture majors take economics or business administration classes? Who exactly is going to pay for this amazing dream of pedestrian friendliness? Especially one that’s located within a pedestrian-free no-mans-land. No reasonable person who is familiar with this site and the surrounding area would think that a pedestrian-driven “new-urbanism” style development would be even remotely economically feasible on this site.
    The site might be inside the loop, but that doesn’t make it “downtown” or urban.

  • Do they not make Urban-Planning/Architecture majors take economics or business administration classes? Who exactly is going to pay for this amazing dream of pedestrian friendliness? Especially one that’s located within a pedestrian-free no-mans-land. No reasonable person who is familiar with this site and the surrounding area would think that a pedestrian-driven “new-urbanism” style development would be even remotely economically feasible on this site.
    The site might be inside the loop, but that doesn’t make it “downtown” or urban.

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    Is that a fact? or are you just espousing your belief? At least the student admits to his beliefs, your just being an internet tough guy, move along now. I for one like to walk from bar to bar on Washington Ave., would it be so much a stretch to imagine people living in apartment complexes off center street to walk across the train tracks? If you build it, they will come.