The Shops and Apartments Planned for the Block South of the Alabama Theater

Development firm Read King is “gearing up to break ground on” a mixed-use project at the southwest corner of Shepherd and West Alabama, across the street from the shopping center that houses the vacant Alabama Theater. Real Estate Bisnow‘s Catie Brubaker says preleasing has already begun for 30,000 sq. ft. of “high-end” retail; the development would also include 250 luxury apartments. The targeted opening date is in the middle of 2013, so it shouldn’t much matter that the design “is still in flux,” right? The placeholder rendering appears to show 5 stories of apartments perched above 2 retail floors.


The development would likely take over more than just the land currently used for the retail block at the corner: An entity called Shepherd Alabama LLC currently owns several adjacent properties on South Shepherd and West Alabama, according to county tax records.

Rendering and aerial view: Read King Commercial Real Estate (rendering via Real Estate Bisnow)

50 Comment

  • ah man no more ruchis?

  • I bet those apartment dwellers are going to love shopping at Trader Joe’s.

  • I can imagine the traffic with that and Trader Joes at that intersection.

  • I love Roeder’s, but this is great news. Glad to see the area get more infill.

  • Because traffic in my little corner of the universe just needs to suck a little more.

  • Oh No! Say goodbye to Fly High Little Bunny!

  • What about the Cat Vet Clinic, its two houses and oak-filled parking area? Say it isn’t so. And Garbanzo, traffic would be hellacious indeed, especially during floods. Ugh.

  • Well, if Alabama moved at a crawl before, it’s going to be a doozy this year. I guess it’ll still be better than trying to get west on the 59 parking lot.

  • Wow another midrise apartment. This will make the 14th planned midrise apartment building in central Houston.

  • Where will I get my after club Ruchi’s tacos if this happens? Say it ain’t so.

  • Don’t forget that left turns are prohibited in three of the four directions at that intersection, including northbound Shepherd to westbound Alabama. How in the heck are those people going to get to their apartments coming from 59?
    … oh right, it appears that the development swallows up half of Sul Ross, too, so they’ll probably block up the left lane of Shepherd trying to turn onto Sul Ross to get into the back entrance of the complex.

  • Developments like these are what it is going to take to make Houston a more walkable city. I hope it goes well.

  • The swamplot commentary cracks me up sometimes.

    *Development comes out with no ground retail

    =Type angrily about lack of ground retail!!

    *Development comes out thats not tall enough

    =Type angrily about lack of density! Generic architecture etc!!!

    *Development comes out thats 7 stories, has ground retail, in the city.

    =OHHH traffic!!! This development will have TOO many people!!

    *Development creates train transportation system (semi) independent of automobile traffic

    =aaaaarg! Taxpayer money! Communists!!

    Has any construction ever been liked on this site?

  • I think it’s awesome. This is such a cool area and to me, a logical area to build such a development.
    The issue of traffic should be negated a bit by having more places that people can walk to. I have property near by where several of the tenants don’t even own cars (their students, or work near by).
    I think that’s the point of developments like this.

  • @Purdueenginerd: Thank You! People complain about every little thing no matter what it is. I remember on a different website when Discovery Green was announced as a project, people ripped it apart. Now fast forward 3 years and it’s one of the most successful developments in Houston and everyone loves it.

  • Yeah, I lived just down the block at the Gables Waterford Square years ago – walked to the grocery (my choice, Randall’s or Whole Foods — just for one, so never carrying more than two bags back; walking to the grocery for a party or a family of four is less feasible), walked to the bookstore (well, Borders and Bookstop… never mind), walked to a wide variety of restaurants; was substitute teaching part of the time, so also walked to a few of the local schools when lucky enough to be called by the closest ones. I was by no means the only person in that complex to walk places. Now I’m in Montrose, and everyone near me walks… hey, if you walk to dinner, you don’t have to worry about how many beers you have!

  • Traffic won’t be “negated” by a development like this. Do you really think people who can afford to live in buildings like that are the same ones who choose to go car-less in a city like Houston?

    I imagine there will be some changes to Shepherd/Alabama traffic flows (for example, putting in a protected left at that intersection) to accommodate the increasing traffic in the area.

  • I hope Fly High Little Bunny can relocate, it’s a great shop (though I won’t miss the parking-take a deep breath and reverse onto Shepherd weeee!)

  • Roeder’s is my favorite bar. Man, this is gonna hurt. I hope the flux takes a couple of years so I can avoid the inevitable for another football season or three. Poor me.

  • My main issue is that these types of developments, while good, are too often being built as islands rather than a peninsula. Sure, it’s nice to have “mixed use” Inside the Loop, but the reality is, this place is going to be isolated. The people that live there are still going to have to drive to most places.

    Now, if this had been built in Midtown, near other venues and within a few blocks of the rail line, then we’d be talking. The residents would have alternative ways to reach other employment and lifestyle centers.

    Mixed use is nice. Well planned and located mixed use is BETTER.

  • Well said, Purdueenginerd.

    This is a great use of the property! Get used to it because there will be many more to come.

  • Wait just a minute. There’s already a lot of traffic on Shepherd. Shouldn’t the Mayor and city council be rushing to stop this new development at all costs just like the Ashby Highrise? Oh. Wait. The people who live around this place aren’t rich enough to afford that kind of government intervention.

  • I support the idea of mixed use developments and would like to see more in the city, but something this size at this location is a nutzoid concept where traffic is concerned. This intersection is already clogged at peak hours and with the Trader Joes coming in…I guess that will make it walkable since no one will be able to drive through the gridlock…

  • Purdueenginerd, there is a huge flaw in your argument. There are a bunch of different people commenting on here, and those different people like and dislike different things. Commonsense and doofus are prime examples. When will those two ever agree on anything? Now, if it were the same person with all those gripes, your comment would make sense. Simply, you can’t please all the people, all the time. And, if you could, this would be a pretty lame blog and even lamer comment section.

  • yes. lots of complaining on Swamplot. Bunch of sad little people.

  • I like the 80’s-90’s style cars in the rendering.

  • The proposed University rail line when built will serve this project very well.

  • OMG, our little city is growing up so fast. was hoping kirby and w. gray would act as buffers to keep the montrose intact, but looks like that’s a false hope.

    uptown here we come.

  • This looks great. There will be some traffic impact, but not too much. West Ave traffic has not been a major issue, although there is way more capacity on Kirby and Westheimer. I suspect the developer may give up some ROW to add a left turn lane from Shep northbound to W. Alambama. It will be an interesting issue for the traffic engineers to play with.

    I hope this is the beginning of the end of the strip mall as the development of choice inside the loop. This mixed use will generate piles more in tax revenues, give people the opportunity to reduce car trips, and will encourage similar devlopment in the area. If only certain other developers in Houston could have had the talent to do something like this instead of you-know-what. There is just a night and day difference between something like this and strip mall no. 2365.

  • This building, which could be purpose built to fit their needs, would probably be a better fit for TJ’s. However I would think they are still more likely to opt for a single level purpose built grocery building based on their existing stores. I’m still utterly unconvinced that they would seriously look at the Alabama theater, it would be a moneypit for them and would be logistically very challenging (loading bays?). However I am prepared to be proved wrong.

  • So if Ruchi’s is slated to go, can I walk into a random luxury apartment at 3 in the morning and ask for hot tea with a wink and an oh-so-subtle-nod??

  • Doofus; welcome to a land of no zoning. Eventually, Houston will built itself up, one “island” at a time.

  • But will they allow dogs on the restaurant patios?

  • Nothing wrong with it except for it will add to the traffic nightmare that already is Shepherd, and turn it a little bit more into Kirby, which is pretty much devoid of character as is.

  • All the comments about traffic are pretty funny. People here still think they are living in a “town”, and having to sit through two light cycles for maybe 4/24 hours a day is “horrible” traffic. I guess the other 20 hours a day when you get through in one cycle don’t count. Oh, the horror.

  • Really like this development. For those of you complaining about traffic, maybe it’s time Houston builds a good mass transit system.

  • So traffic is going to get worse? Good. That means the need for alternative transportation will be more of a need in the future. Keep growing UP, Houston.

  • Within walking distance of (proposed) MetroRail and (proposed)Trader Joes. Can we assume that there is some symbiosis here?

  • read king is “gearing up to break ground”
    “preleasing” has begun… right, read king, biznow- what a cheesy bunch of phonies. their cookie cutter buildings and vague lingo need to stay in the suburbs where it belongs.

  • More riff-raff, moving into the neighbor-hood…

  • Point of curiosity: does anyone have an idea of what the benchmark is for “luxury” at present? It seems like everything built has that qualifier now – by nature, that makes what used to be considered luxury “standard”. What sets the bar?

  • Hellsing,

    To be “luxury” you have to have: wood floors, high ceilings, granite counters, stainless steel appliances, a parking garage, and a Starbucks machine in your club house/common area.. LOL! Which is pretty much every new apartment complex in the loop.

  • Darn! If I had gotten the cheaper stainless steel applicances instead of the cool retro Elmira ones, my l’il ole house would be *LUXURY*!!!

  • From Rover:
    But will they allow dogs on the restaurant patios?


    Probably. Of course the dogs will not be allowed to panhandle…

  • From Bernard:
    Wait just a minute. There’s already a lot of traffic on Shepherd. Shouldn’t the Mayor and city council be rushing to stop this new development at all costs just like the Ashby Highrise? Oh. Wait. The people who live around this place aren’t rich enough to afford that kind of government intervention.


    It’s not a matter of being rich enough. Just being pretentious enough. As for the lawsuit against the city by the developers of 1717 Bissonnet with each “permit granted” for these monstrosities in the Kirby/Shepherd/W Alabama/Richmond/Westheimer areas aka “Upper Kirby” which were granted with total disregard to the “traffic impact” the city applied as the standard for 1717 Bissonnet, the city seems to be intent on losing the lawsuit. And costing the taxpayers a small fortune. Don’t blame me. I didn’t vote for her. Or for Howdy Doody.

  • I know I’m commenting on a nearly two-month old item, but I’ve heard no evidence that this development is going to actually happen. No one at Cat Vet has heard anything and they’re certainly not planning a move. A couple other of those businesses are renovating their properties. To say nothing of the couple of nearly new homes on the Sul Ross side. I ust don’t see this one happening, but would love to be proven wrong.

  • it’s not going to happen because they are bluffing- buying time for interest, and that wont happen either.

  • I work at Fly High Little Bunny and we are always on the lookout for a new building regardless if we get kicked out or not. For one, not many know about this but we are on the end of the city water/sewage line and we sit lower than the house behind us so our store has a tendency to flood every other time it rains. The land owners wont put in any money to fix this problem that we have had for the past few years so its a pain. I am pretty tired of the way Shepherd is. It definitely needs some sprucing up. I just wish they would get on with this already instead of lingering around.

  • I’m all for denser development, but I hope to God that they redo Shepherd before this project opens. Shepherd needs a dedicated turn lane from 59 all the way to West Gray, not to mention the sorry state of the pavement. Why does Houston always build first and improve the infrastructure later? All it does is piss off the neighbors, and rightly so.

  • There’s no room for a median or other dedicated left-turn lane on Shepherd. The properties are slam up against the road and vice versa.